Free irrigation plan starts rolling at DA | Inquirer Business

Free irrigation plan starts rolling at DA

To make good President Duterte’s promise of free irrigation for poor farmers, the Department of Agriculture is set to amend the National Irrigation Administration charter.

In an interview with Radyo Inquirer, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said C’zar M. Sulaik, whom he recommended as new NIA chief, has formed a legal team to prepare the proposed law.

Formerly the irrigation division of the Department of Public Works, the NIA was created through Republic Act No. 3601 of 1963. This was later amended through presidential decrees passed in 1974 and 1980.


Data from the NIA showed the agency collects P1.8 billion to P2 billion in irrigation service fees (ISF) yearly. The ISF is primarily used to fund the agency’s operations and maintenance expenses, including employees’ salaries and allowances.


Piñol said free irrigation would only be for small farmers.

“This will not apply to corporate farms and large plantations, which also use irrigation systems,” the DA chief added. “This large operations like banana farms will have to pay [irrigation fees].”

Last week, Piñol said he has recommended Sulaik to the NIA post. Sulaik served as irrigation officer in Cotabato when Piñol was still governor of that province.

The DA chief earlier advised NIA officials to quit if they do not support the plan to scrap irrigation fees.

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TAGS: Business, DA, Department of Agriculture, economy, irrigation, News, President Rodrigo Duterte

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