Kalinga execs press abolition of NIA irrigation service fees

>> Thursday, December 15, 2016

By Peter A. Balocnit

CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga --  The provincial government aired its its support to abolition of irrigation service fees (ISF) imposed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) on beneficiaries of irrigation systems.
 Kalinga is host to the Upper Chico River Irrigation System that supplies irrigation to about 12,000 hectares of rice lands and benefiting thousands of farmers in Tabuk Valley, part of Pinukpuk in Kalinga and neighboring Quezon in Isabela province.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced he wanted the scrapping of ISF to lighten the burden of farmers. 
Engineer Patrick Resurreccion of NIA said the Kalinga Irrigation Management Office has no objection to the proposal of scrapping the ISF provided the national government allocates funds for personnel services and maintenance and other operating expenses 
 “An average of P24 million is collected yearly from two cropping cycle in the UCRIS service area,” Resurreccion said adding that P4 billion is needed to subsidize NIA’s operation nationwide if the law will get enacted.  
In another development, the province through the SP also requested the President to allocate funds for the tunnelling of the Alliog creek and siphoning its water to irrigate some 1,800 hectares of idle lands in Rizal and the remaining dry plains of Northern Tabuk.
Resurreccion said a feasibility study was submitted in the past for endorsement by the Regional Development Council and for the approval of the National Economic Development Authority but was shelved when found financially not feasible considering its estimate project cost of almost P500 million.
There are five small impounding dams in Rizal but could only supply irrigation to a maximum of 50 hectares and that water supply is dependent on the rain. Most of the farmers are drawing water from mechanized shallow tube wells.


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