NIA, Central Office – The National Irrigation Administration, on Monday, reiterated that the agency is fulfilling President Duterte’s marching order on Free Irrigation Service Fee.
More and more Irrigators’ Associations (IAs) are signing up with the new Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT) contract which outlines core guidelines in the Free Irrigation policy. As stipulated in the contract, the agency will no longer collect ISF current accounts from the farmers.
“Totoo po na hindi na po nangongolekta ng bayad patubig ang NIA sa buong bansa bilang pagtugon sa kautusan ng ating Pangulo”, said Pilipina Bermudez, NIA spokesperson.
The ISF back accounts, on the other hand, are still subject for collection since no final ruling yet on whether the unpaid irrigation service fee will be condoned.
“Hinihintay pa po natin na mailabas ng ating kongreso at senado ang kanilang desisyon sa pagkolekta ng mga back accounts sa ating magsasaka”, she added
NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya, earlier, said that the agency is having hard time collecting the said fee since some of the farmers and IAs are not willing to pay their past debts. But the NIA chief echoed that the agency did not impose any deadlines on paying farmers’ past account.
“Wala po tayong deadline sa back accounts, ang katotohanan po niyan pwede pa ring mag avail ang ating mga magsasaka ng mga programs and incentives (Paying Back Accounts) na binibigay na noon pa ng NIA”, said NIA Administrator.
The agency also clarified that the IAs are now starting to collect a reasonable fee for own operational expenses.
“Kung may nagsisingil man ng patubig ito ay own initiative na ng ating mga irrigators’ association at hindi na ito saklaw ng NIA. Nasa kanila (IAs) na po ang desisyong kung magkano ang mapagkakasunduan nilang bayad patubig”, Visaya said.
But the NIA chief still vowed to extend support to the farmers whenever the need arises. Administrator Visaya said he intends to continue and support the IAs whom, thru the years, became an active partner of the agency in its thrust to support the agricultural productivity of the country thru irrigation.