Chief Elvira Alvarado, of the National Irrigation Administration Regional Irrigation Services, announced recently that it has stopped collecting amortization and service fees from farmers nationwide.
Alvarado said the implementation of the free irrigation service started in the first cropping season of this year, as a result the administration subsidy fund of P2 billion to NIA under the 2017 GAA, or Republic Act 10924 of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Corporate farms, plantations, fishponds, and other non-agricultural crop users drawing water or using drainage facilities are not covered by the free irrigation service program.
Under its resolution she said, NIA stopped collecting amortization and equity payments from farmers and Irrigators Associations in the construction, rehabilitation, restoration and expansion of service areas of communal irrigation systems, small irrigation systems, pump irrigation systems, including shallow tube wells, and small reservoir irrigation systems.
Projects with local government units' participation in the equity requirement from the concerned LGU are maintained, she said.
All bank accounts or unpaid ISF amortization and equity payments before the effectivity of RA 10924 remain as liabilities of farmers and IAs, Alvarado said.
Collection of such liabilities shall be pursued by NIA, in collaboration with the Office of the Solicitor General and Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, she added.
It may also be tapped by NIA in the collection of back accounts subject to terms, agreements, and conditions.
Alvarado also said that, due to the government subsidy, farmers who have maintained irrigation canals can now receive compensation and incentives for their respective irrigation canals.
NIA, she said, will pay P1,750 per 7km for cemented irrigation canals, and P1,750 per 3.5 km for those not cemented.
Qualified farmers will receive the payment six times a year.
NIA will also pay P150 per hectare per cropping season of the irrigated and planted areas.
Alvarado also reminded farmers that before the release of payment, validation and evaluation will be made. This is to encourage all farmers to plant every cropping season and properly maintain their irrigation systems, she said.
On top of the incentives, they will also become contributors to the attainment of the government's thrust for food security and sufficiency for all.*
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