Duterte approves free irrigation law


MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed into law Free Irrigation Service (FIS) Act which grants free irrigation to farmers owning not more than eight hectares of land.

Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10969 on February 2 and copy of which was released to the Malacanang Press Corps on Friday (Feb. 9).

Upon effectivitiy of the new law, all farmers with only eight and below hectares of lands are exempted from paying irrigation service fees (ISF) for water derived from national irrigation system (NIS) and communal irrigation systems administered by National Irrigation Administration and other government agencies.

The FIS law, which amended Republic Act No. 3601 or an act creating NIA, also condones unpaid irrigations fees and corresponding penalties of farmers with landholdings of 8 and below hectares.

On the other hand, farmers with more than eight hectares of land as well as corporate farms, plantations, fishponds, and those drawing water for non-agricultural purposes are not covered by free irrigation.

The new law aims to achieve the goal of the government to promote comprehensive rural development, food self-sufficiency and raise the quality of life in rural areas.

“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,” stated in RA 10969.

Under the law, the NIS shall continue the development, operation and maintenance of NIS although it may delegate the operation and maintenance of secondary and tertiary canals and farm ditches to “capable” irrigators associations (IAs).

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