President Rodrigo Duterte has inked a landmark law aimed at delivering free irrigation to small farmers across the Philippines.
Under Republic Act No. 10969, a Filipino farmer with landholdings of eight hectares and below are entitled to this service–exempting them from paying irrigation services fees for water from national and communal irrigation systems.
This law, named as Free Irrigation Service Act, also freed these small farmers from their owed irrigation service fees.
“The State shall also ensure that vital support services are made available, particularly irrigation service, through the continued construction, repair and maintenance of necessary irrigation facilities, to increase production of agricultural crops, encourage productivity, and increase the incomes of farmers,” the law read.
“Towards this end, the State affirms its commitment to contribute to the lowering of the cost of production through the provision of free irrigation service, and further relieve the farmers and their irrigators associations from the burden and consequence of unpaid irrigation service fees,” it added.
The law also dictated the NIA would remain to do its tasks of developing, operating and maintaining national irrigation systems, while irrigators associations will still operate and maintain communal irrigation systems.
For this, RA 10969 mandated the government to provide funds for the operation and maintenance of communal irrigation systems.
The President penned the law last February 2, and it will take effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazzette or in two newspapers.