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Bill stops collection of irrigation service fees

A lawmaker is urging Congress to help alleviate the plight of the farmers considered as
one of the most neglected sectors of the society by stopping the collection of irrigation service
fees.
Rep. Rodolfo G. Biazon (one !istrict" #untinlupa City$ said in %ouse Bill &'(( that
stopping the collection of irrigation service fees and other related or similar fees will greatly ease
the burden of the farmers.
)*bviously" our farmers are having a hard time paying these fees being charged them
because many of them remain shackled by poverty as they fall prey to the heartless activities of
loan sharks" otherwise known as +,-( operators. in local parlance"/ Biazon said.
%e further said the farmers are victims of these ),-( operators/ in every step of production
process because they run to them when they need money to buy seeds" fertilizers or pesticides
and even money to pay for the irrigation services that they receive.
)0his results in their being heavily-indebted to these loan sharks. 0hey" who produce the
food we eat" end up with almost nothing to eat as their products have already been promised to
the loan sharks as payments for their debts even before they are harvested"/ Biazon said.
Biazon said it is the policy of the 1tate to protect and promote the welfare of farmers in the
country and undertake efforts geared towards providing them the necessary assistance to increase
the yield of their farms such as inputs to production" post-production facilities and irrigation.
0he measure provides that the collection of irrigation service fees (213s$ and such other
similar or related fees from beneficiaries of irrigation systems funded and constructed by" or
under the administration of the 4ational 2rrigation Administration (42A$" shall be stopped after
the enactment of the General Appropriations Act in the succeeding year following the approval of
this Act.
0o ensure the repair and maintenance of these irrigation systems" the measure provides
that the 42A shall include the necessary amounts for the repair and maintenance of such irrigation
systems as a specific item in its budget for the succeeding year following the approval of this Act.
%enceforth" the repair and maintenance of irrigation systems constructed by" or under the
administration of the 42A" shall be treated in the same manner as the repair and maintenance of
roads" which is included as a specific item in the annual budget of the !epartment of 5ublic
6orks and %ighways.
)0he assistance that this bill would offer our farmers is an affirmation that we
acknowledge their situation and ready to act to alleviate their plight"/ Biazon added. (78$ mvip

NR # 3612B
OCT. 7, 2014