NIA gets congress’ approval for its 2018 budget
The lower house, during its latest plenary session, approved the P40.8-billion budget for National Irrigation Administration next year. The amount is higher by 6 percent than the P38.3 billion allotted for the irrigation sector this year.
Bulk of the approved budget, or the P26.8 billion, will be for the restoration, repair, and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems and construction and development of new irrigation systems.
The agency is also eyeing to establish pump and special irrigation systems.
NIA Chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya previously said that the increased budget will be used to accelerate and complete ongoing projects and quickly develop and increase new irrigation areas.
“We want to increase the budget to fund the construction of our dams. We still have about 40.68 percent to be developed and we would like to fast track the development to help achieve rice self-sufficiency,” he added.
Visaya said the congress’ approval is a welcome move for the agency to implement larger scale new projects, to continuously conduct project feasibility studies and detailed engineering, to provide adequate equipment support for operation and maintenance, and to protect watersheds of big irrigation systems.
NIA is set to meet the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chaired by Sen. Cynthia Villar for a Senate Committee Hearing on September 19.
“The management is hopeful that the proposed budget will also be accepted by the Upper House,” NIA said in a statement.
The agency, as of December 2016, has developed 1.85 million hectares of agricultural lands equivalent to 59.32 percent of irrigation development.