Second District Congressman Aristotle “Aris” Aumentado viewed with favor the abolition of the irrigation service fee (ISF) charged by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to farmers.
“The government should provide free irrigation to farmers to ease the heavy burden caused by fees imposed for the use of water for their farms. This will alleviate the miserable conditions on the lives of the farmers hit by poverty”.
The ISF are payments from farmers for services rendered for the delivery of water from the operation of storage and diversion dams of NIA.
Farmers organized into irrigators associations have the option to pay in cash or in kind. Unpaid ISF shall be preferred lien, first on the farmer’s property and then on the crops raised by the farmer.
“Unless NIA abolish the ISF for the maintenance of government owned irrigation facilities the farmers will be mired in hardship and will impact on the agricultural productivity of our country”, warned Aumentado.
Aumentado told DYRD Balita that “at present the irrigators associations owes NIA million of pesos in unpaid ISF”.
The abolition of the ISF, according to Aumentado will impact on the farmgate prices of palayÂ and will pull down the price of rice in the market.
NIA is presently studying the possibility of abolishing the ISF which would result in government shouldering the operation and management costs of providing water to the farmers.
Vietnam and Thailand does not collect irrigation fees from their farmers. Calls for the abolition of the ISF are growing louder with government urged to subsidize the irrigation services of the Filipino farmers. (Chito M. Visarra with reports from Allen Doydora)