NIA clarifies guidelines on free irrigation law

NIA clarifies guidelines on free irrigation law

By: Aileen Vernice G. Bahia, Regional Office

Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro - National Irrigation Administration MIMAROPA clarifies the guidelines on the Republic Act 10969 otherwise known as Free Irrigation Service Act (FISA) during an orientation on May 21, 2019.

NIA Consultant Bayani P. Ofrecio explains the implementing rules and regulations of the said law to 130 members and officials of Irrigators Association (IA) in the province.

RA 10969, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February last year, states that farmers with landholdings of 8 hectares or less are exempted from paying the irrigation service fee (ISF) for water derived from national and communal irrigation systems constructed and administered by NIA and other government agencies.

Also, back accounts, penalties and other interests of the farmers are condoned and written off the book of NIA. These also includes the amortization loan under communal irrigation systems. Moreover, according the Article 1270 of the Civil Code, those farmers or landowners who want to be included in the condonation of back accounts shall submit written acceptance of debt to NIA.

On the other hand, farmers with landholdings of 8 hectares above 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.

For non-exempt farmers, they shall pay the ISF for the whole aggregate landholdings and not just the excess of 8 hectares including the back accounts, penalties and interests.

For the farmers to be exempted, 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 valid proof.

Subsidy will be given to IAs in the absence of ISF. The operations subsidy amounts to P150 per hectare for wet and dry season based on the validated list of irrigation and planted area while the maintenance subsidy worth P1,750 per canal section per maintenance period (every 45 days, maximum six times in 1 year) will be given. If these are not enough, 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.

Mr. Ofrecio explained that NIA will still continue to provide technical assistance and capability building activities to strengthen the partnership of NIA and IA.