National Irrigation Administration, Quezon City – The Senate Committee on Finance approved the proposed National Expenditure Program for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in the amount of P36.36 billion in 2017. Senators Cynthia Villar, Miguel Zubiri, Francis Pangilinan, and Loren Legarda unanimously approved the NIA 2017 proposed budget.
The amount of P2.3 billion was also approved to implement the “FREE IRRIGATION” starting next year. NIA Administrator Florencio Padernal informed that the P2.3 B will be on top of the P36.36B budget of NIA under the General Appropriations Act of 2017.
The amount is intended to subsidize the Personal Services of the agency, MOOE of NIA and the Irrigator Associations (IAs), and the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of existing irrigation facilities. He further noted that it will reduce the production cost of the farmers by 6 percent.
Administrator Padernal said that the additional budget is a welcome move from the Congress and Senate to back President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to help Filipino farmers by freeing them from Irrigation Service Fee (ISF) which is currently being collected by the agency as mandated by law. “The systematic and organized delivery and distribution of water by NIA and the IAs will be sustained”, he said.
“This free irrigation service fee will also give the agency to focus on the construction of major irrigation facilities like dams, main canals, pumping stations, and head gates of lateral canals as well as restoration and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems”, he added.
The agency reiterates its full support to “Free ISF” as well as the expectation of increased productivity and income of farmers.
National Irrigation Administration, Quezon City – The Investment Coordination Committee – Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) on September 28, 2016 approved several regional projects targeting rural and agricultural development in the country.
Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Stage 2 (MMIP II) and Chico River Pump Irrigation Project are among the projects endorsed by the committee for approval of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). Socioeconomic planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia believes that these projects are aligning with President Duterte’s commitment to reduce poverty and inequality especially on regional and rural areas.
The NEDA board endorsed the proposed change in scope, cost, and financing of the ongoing Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Stage 2. The 5.4-billion MMIP II project is set to increase the design area to cover the construction of three major service areas including upper and lower Malitubog and the Pagalungan extension area. Upon completion, it will irrigate more than 10,000 hectares of agricultural fields and will benefit more than 50 barangays in North Cotabato and Maguindanao.
Aside from increasing the rice production and attaining food sufficiency in the area, the project intends to achieve and sustain peace and order in the region through social and agricultural development. MMIP II is expected to be completed by 2018.
Another irrigation project lining up for approval is the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in CAR and Region 2. The project will irrigate 8,700 hectares of land and will benefit 4,350 farmers in the area. The 2.7 billion pump irrigation project targets 21 barangays in Cagayan and Kalinga and expected to finish within 3-year period.
Department of Budget and Management Secretary Bejamin Diokno repeatedly agree that it is high time for the government to invest and prioritize into “The Golden age of infrastructure”.