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Restoration of NIA’s 2021 budget for irrigation systems rehab pushed

/ 07:27 PM September 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker on Thursday pushed for the restoration of the National Irrigation Administration’s (NIA) budget for the rehabilitation of the country’s irrigation system.

During House panel deliberations on the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Agriculture and NIA, it was uncovered that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) removed NIA’s P4.2 billion allocation for the communal irrigation system (CIS).

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“The proposed budget by NIA is P4.2 billion. Kaya lang po, the Department of Budget and Management, hindi na po na-include ‘yung budget for CIS (communal irrigation system),” NIA head Ricardo Visaya told lawmakers.

(The proposed budget by NIA is P4.2 billion. However, the DBM did not include the budget for CIS.)

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The NIA head then presented its proposed budget of P32.09 billion for 2021.

“We would like to increase water delivery. Kaya lang alam po natin ang Pilipinas ay palaging may calamities yearly,” Visaya said.

(We would like to increase water delivery but we know the Philippines faces calamities yearly.)

“Ang proposal po sana namin is to prepare ‘yung mga irrigation system na ‘di na gumagana. But it is sad to note na ito po ‘yung tinanggal na budget dito sa program po namin,” he added.

(Our proposal was to prepare the irrigation systems that do not work. But it is sad to note that this budget was taken out of our program.)

In the same hearing, Magsasaka Party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat raised the issue of some Nueva Ecija farmers, who supposedly approached him about a broken super diversion canal in Rizal.

Cabatbat then asked Visaya what will happen if the problem would not be fixed due to the lack of funds to address the matter.

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“Of course, bababa ang kikitain. Bababa ‘yung production natin ng palay sa Region 3. And about 30,000 hectares will be affected,” Visaya answered.

(Of course, profit will go down. Our rice production in Region 3 will decrease. And about 30,000 hectares will be affected.)

To this, Cabatbat motioned: “So, I move that we restore the P4.2 billion slashed from the NIA so that they can undertake rehabilitation.” – KATRINA HALLARE

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TAGS: 2021 national budget, Agriculture, Argel Cabatbat, Magsasaka party-list, National Irrigation Administration, Ricardo Visaya
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