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35K farmers in Bicol benefit from P2.5-B condoned irrigation fees

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY --- Almost 35,000 farmers in Bicol region are reaping the benefits of a certificate of condonation and exemption from irrigation service fee worth PHP2.5 billion from the National Irrigation Administration-Bicol (NIA-5) awarded in Naga City earlier this week.

Ma. Cleofe Baraero, NIA-Bicol public relations officer, said Friday the awarding of condonation to 4,119 individual landowners and 333 Irrigators’ Associations (IAs) with 30,500 members is covered by the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10969, otherwise known as the “Free Irrigation Service Act”.

“We encourage our farmers to avail this condonation program. Just in case the future administration collects irrigation service fees (ISF) again, their names are already cleared,” Baraero said in an interview.

She said farmer-beneficiaries with landholding of eight hectares and below are qualified to apply for the exemption.

“This is also important if they intend to sell their lands. Records will show that they don’t have outstanding ISF amortization,” she said.

Individual farmland owners who are benefiting from the condonation have a total land area of 4,328.46 hectares with PHP420 million unpaid ISF while the 333 IAs have a total land area of 34,832.90 hectares with unpaid ISF amounting to PHP2.136 billion.

“For those farmer-landowners with ISF amortization they can visit NIA offices to know further the details on how to avail the program since there is no deadline yet as to when the condonation program will end,” Baraero said.

She said the NIA stays committed to helping Bicolano farmers to reach its goal of food security for the nation. (PNA)

GOV’T AID. Farmers and officials of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in Bicol officials pose for a photo opportunity on Wednesday (Oct. 25, 2023) after the awarding of a certificate on PHP2.5 billion worth of exemption from Irrigation Service Fees at the NIA office in Naga City. Some 30,500 farmers benefited from the condonation program. (PNA photo courtesy of NIA Bicol)


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