NIA PARTIALLY AWARDS CERTIFICATE OF ISF EXEMPTION TO FARMERS IN REGION 8

Region 8 – Pursuant to Republic Act 10969, otherwise known as Free Irrigation Service Act (FISA), the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) partially distributed Certificate of Irrigation Service Fee (ISF) Exemption to 37 farmers in Balire-Ibawon-Gibuga River Irrigation System (RIS), MacArthur, Leyte and Binahaan-Tibak RIS, Tanauan, Leyte on July 28, 2021 and August 25, 2021, respectively. Likewise, back accounts, penalties and other interests of these farmers amounting to P3.7-million were condoned and written off from the book of NIA.

The Regional Manager, Ruby C. Tuan, Jr. spearheaded the activity, assisted by Biliran-Leyte del Norte-Leyte del Sur Irrigation Management Office (IMO) Manager, Conrado M. Samson.

To exempt farmers from payment of ISF, they shall be listed in the Registry of Farmers, established and monitored by NIA. This registry indicates the name of the landowner, size of the land, its location and the details of the original Certificate of Title. Those not listed may request NIA to include their names upon presentation of proof of ownership such as, 1) Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT), 2) Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), 3) Emancipation Patent, 4) Tax Declaration, 5) Certificate of Landholdings issued by the Office of the Treasurer of the concerned LGU, the Land Registration Authority, or the Department of Agrarian Reform, and 6) Any other evidence which NIA may consider sufficient under applicable laws to prove the landholdings of any farmer or landowner.

Application for condonation is ongoing. Thus, NIA encourage farmers to register their landholdings at their nearest NIA office and present their proof of ownership to avail the Free Irrigation Service.  

As of now, there are 673 landowners, for both communal irrigation system (CIS) and national irrigation system (NIS), with approved application for condonation in Region 8. These cover more than 24,000 hectares with condoned back accounts, penalties, and other interests amounting to 1.9-Billion.

The RA 10969 was signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on February 2, 2018. It states that farmers with landholdings of 8 hectares or less are exempted from paying ISF for water derived from national irrigation system (NIS) and communal irrigation system (CIS), constructed and administered by NIA and other government agencies.

For the farmers to be exempted, they shall be listed in the Registry of Farmers, established and monitored by NIA.  Hence, the NIA Region 8 conducted Free Irrigation Service Fee Campaign through coordination with the barangays by attending the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) Meeting; Bandillo; House-to-house; Series of interviews for information dissemination in radio and television. These efforts were giving emphasis on farmers’ registry.

This registry indicates the name of the landowner, size of the land, its location and the details of the original Certificate of Title. Those not listed may request NIA to include their names upon presentation of proof of ownership such as, 1) Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT), 2) Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), 3) Emancipation Patent, 4) Tax Declaration, 5) Certificate of Landholdings issued by the Office of the Treasurer of the concerned LGU, the Land Registration Authority, or the Department of Agrarian Reform, and 6) Any other evidence which NIA may consider sufficient under applicable laws to prove the landholdings of any farmer or landowner.

On the other hand, farmers with landholdings of above 8 hectares shall continue to pay the necessary equivalent ISF. These landholdings include corporate farms, plantations, fish ponds and other persons who use irrigation water and facilities for non-agricultural purposes like drainage.

Moreover, Irrigators Association (IA) are given subsidy for operation and maintenance. The subsidy for operation is P150 per hectare for wet and dry season based on the validated list of irrigation and planted area while for maintenance subsidy is P2,800 per 3.5km earth canal or 7km lined canal per maintenance period (every 45 days, maximum six times in 1 year).

Also, the IA have the right to collect contributions from its members upon approval by the General Assembly. Said contributions may be added to the IA's policies and may be used in the operation and maintenance of irrigation facilities.