DA asks for addtional budget to support free irrigation projects
Agriculture chief Manny Piñol is aiming to have an additional P4 billion in the 2017 budget of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to fulfil the promises of the Duterte administration of free nationwide irrigation beginning next year, Philippine Star reported.
Earlier, the NIA has suggested a budget of P36.8 billion for 2017 and in case additional funding will be approved, the agency’s allocation will total to P40.8 billion.
“By providing an additional funding, NIA will no longer depend on the collections from irrigation fees of farmers for the salaries of its officials and employees and for its operations,” Piñol said in the report.
NIA spokesperson Filipina Bermudez explained that the 2017 budget is allocated for the restoration, construction, and rehabilitation of new irrigation projects and all existing irrigation systems.
“The GAA (General Appropriations Act) for 2017 is not for PS and MOOE (personal services and maintenance and other operating expenses). It should be explicitly stated that part of the P40 billion is for PS and MOOE,” Bermudez told Philippine Star.
Bermudez shared that the irrigation service fees (ISF) collection hasn’t been easy for the agency given the pronouncements of the free irrigation.
“Based on the assessment of NIA’s finances, our current status without incoming ISF collection will be good up to September only,” she explained.
“This means that without assistance from the national government for the fourth quarter, NIA will not have enough funds for regular operation and maintenance of irrigation systems including salaries and allowance of employees,” Bermudez told Phil Star in a text message.