To hit the ground running, Third District Rep. Arthur Yap will file on Day 1 of his third term in Congress on July 1, four priority bills aimed at uplifting the lives of farmers and addressing the woes of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
Yap priority bills include those forÂ free irrigation program, insurance for farmers, agricultural guaranty for loans taken out by farmers, and the creation of a department of OFWs.
The creation of a department of OFW will ensure that concerns of OFWs will be attended to promptly and problems concerning their employment outside the country will be pre-empted by pro-active measures.
The OFW Department can also attend to concerns on economic security of OFWs when they retire.
Yap alreadyÂ filed the bill proposing Free Irrigation Law of 2015 but ran short of time in the previous Congress. So, he would re-file it in the coming 17thÂ Congress to start on July 1.
The bill proposing a Free Irrigation Program is intended for the farmers â€œto effectively and immediately increase productivity and attainment of food self-sufficiencyâ€.
Under the proposed Free Irrigation Law, the government shall develop irrigation systems that are free, effective, appropriate and efficient.
The proposed lawÂ will bail out the farmers from the burden of paying the Irrigation Service Fees (ISF) as it will then be shouldered by the government.
ItÂ then â€œwill primarily reduce the cost of production and will make our farmers more productiveâ€ and in the long run, will â€œincrease the farmersâ€™ income and uplift their living conditionâ€.
This is a way to promote comprehensive rural development through increased agricultural production, sustained productivity, and promotion and development of free irrigation systems.
Payment of personnel services and for the repair, maintenance of irrigation systems administered by the National Irrigation Administration, and other operating expenses shall be included in the annual national budget provided in the Annual General Appropriations Act.
The proposed law will repeal or modify provisions of existing laws prescribing the power and authority of NIA to collect ISF or other forms of chargers for the use of irrigation systems.
These are Section 2, paragraph (c) of Republic Act 3601 or the Act Creating the NIA; section 1, paragraph (b) of Presidential Decree 552; Section 1, paragraph (b) of Presidential Decree 1702; and Section 35 of RA 8435 or the Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Lawâ€ prescribing the power and authority of NIA to collect Irrigation Service Fees (ISF) or other forms of chargers for the use of irrigation systems.
Yap had also been pushingÂ for financial subsidy, insurance subsidy for farmers to cushion the impact of the calamities to the lives of farmers.
He also bats for seeds support subsidy, to ensure continuity of production.
In the Grains Modernization Act that he had also been pushing, Yap said it will cover all support measures to ensure stability of the grains industry in the country- -including subsidy for water, subsidy for seeds, and cropÂ insurance.