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NIA brings free irrigation closer to farmers in Central Luzon

CABANATUAN CITY (PIA) -- The National Irrigation Administration - Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (NIA-UPRIIS) is bringing its free irrigation service closer to qualified farmer-beneficiaries.

Established under Republic Act 10969 otherwise known as the Free Irrigation Service Act, the program aims to provide free irrigation to qualified farmers with landholdings of eight hectares and below.

NIA-UPRIIS administrative and finance division manager June Barioga disclosed that about 98,375 farmers have been identified as qualified beneficiaries, with less than 30,000 applying for the program.

"There are still many who haven't applied, that's why we, from the field offices of NIA-UPRIIS, are the ones going to the barangays," he said.

Field personnel visit farmers to assist them in filling out application forms and to collect the needed documents such as proof of land ownership and certification from barangay officials or the Irrigators’ Association President.

The agency came up with this strategy to ensure a hassle-free application process.

"When [the program] was first implemented in 2018, there were many requirements, including notarized documents that needed to be fulfilled, and they also had to pay certain fees. Our farmers find it inconvenient because they had to personally go to the offices… so, what we did was we provided everything for free, including the notarial services, and we are the ones who go to them," he explained.

Once the applications are processed and verified, farmers receive a Certificate of Exemption, signifying their eligibility with no future payments required.

Moreover, qualified farmers with outstanding debts in irrigation service fees can have them waived, ensuring they can fully benefit from the free irrigation provided by NIA-UPRIIS.

"Those who had debts before but are still qualified, we also give them a Certificate of Condonation, meaning their debt is erased. They don't have to pay it anymore," Barioga said.

As such, NIA-UPRIIS encourages farmers to take advantage of this initiative, emphasizing that the program is a tangible effort of the agency to support the agricultural sector and improve the livelihood of small-scale farmers.

Qualified farmer-beneficiaries may also visit the agency’s division offices to apply for the program if it is convenient for them.

NIA-UPRIIS service area includes most of the province of Nueva Ecija as well as parts of Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan. (CLJD/MAECR-PIA 3)

National Irrigation Administration - Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems Administrative and Finance Division Manager June Barioga says field personnel are actively reaching out to qualified farmer-beneficiaries of the free irrigation service program, ensuring their hassle-free application process. (Maria Asumpta Estefanie C. Reyes/PIA 3)

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Camille Nagaño


Region 3

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