MANILA—A bill seeking to provide free irrigation services to farmers has hurdled the committee level at the House of Representatives.
According to a statement on Thursday, the House committee on agriculture and food has approved the substitute bill consolidating 29 measures, all of which seek to strengthen assistance to farmers, agrarian reform farmers, and members of the indigenous cultural communities by providing them with free irrigation services.
Under the bill, the government shall promote and institutionalize irrigation systems that are free, effective, suitable, applicable and efficient as a key strategy to achieve genuine agricultural development.
Apart from granting full subsidy of irrigation fees, farmers are also relieved of all unpaid irrigation service fees, back accounts and the corresponding penalties.
A grassroots based management or irrigation systems will also be operationalized by the government together with the farmers and irrigators’ associations or farmer cooperatives.
The bill also mandates the NIA to provide technical and financial assistance to local government units, all farmers, agrarian reform farmers, members of the indigenous cultural communities respect to irrigation systems located, utilized, and managed in their respective jurisdictions.
The budget allocation for the free irrigation services shall be taken from any available appropriations of the NIA.