NIA, Central Office - The Upper house, during its plenary session on October 10, approved the Php 40.8 billion budget of National Irrigation Administration for 2018.
NIA Chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya believed that the 6 percent increase in agency’s 2018 budget will pave way to build more irrigation infrastructures that will boost agricultural productivity of the country.
Bulk of the approved budget, or the Php 27.3 billion, will be for the restoration, repair, and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems and construction and development of new irrigation systems.
Early September, the House of Representatives also gave its green light for the said budget.
Meanwhile, the Bicameral Committee panel sets clearer direction for the proposed free irrigation services act. The Congress and Senate, on October 10, agreed to settle differences on some provisions of the proposed law.
Senate Committee Chairperson on agriculture and food Senator Cynthia Villar admitted that there are disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 1465 (Free Irrigation Service to Small Farmers Act of 2017) and House Bill 5670 (Free Irrigation Services Act).
Acting NIA Operations Manager Engr. Bayani Ofrecio, on one of free irrigation consultations, said that the house and senate bills differ on some provisions on condonation and corporate status of NIA.