Amid NIA corruption, KMP wants free water

>> Thursday, March 9, 2017

A nationwide farmers group urged Congress to hasten approval of the free irrigation bill following latest controversy involving firing of National Irrigation Administration chief Peter Lavinia from the agency for alleged corrupt practices.
The Kilusang Magsasaka ng Pilipinas said NIA is prone to corruption. 
“Baka nakurakot na ang pondo para sa subsidyo sa libreng irigasyon? “We need to be assured that there will be no collection of irrigation service fees from farmers and irrigators associations," KMP said in a statement.
“May dumadaloy na pera direkta sa bulsa ng ilang tiwaling opisyal at contractor ng NIA pero walang tubig sa mga irigasyon,” said the statement noting that corrupt practices in irrigation usually involve overpriced and substandard irrigation projects.
Late last year, the Department of Agriculture and the NIA announced irrigation services would be free starting 2017.
Congress allotted additional P2-billion for the NIA this fiscal year to cover the ISF collected by the agency from farmers’ irrigators associations.
The said allocation will be used to cover operating requirements of NIA and the maintenance of existing irrigation facilities which were previously funded out of the collections from ISF.
"We urge Congress to fast-track the approval of the free irrigation bill which has gathered strong support from farmers, legislators, irrigators associations and even government agencies," said KMP secretary general Antonio Flores. 
"In the absence of a law on free irrigation, the NIA should issue clear-cut guidelines on non-collection of irrigation service fees," Flores said.
The NIA is asking a total of P370 billion to establish irrigation projects under its 10-year masterplan

The KMP said it will launch actions in the coming weeks to press for long-overdue free irrigation. 


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