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.