AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to repair and rehabilitate irrigation systems that are non-operational to ease the burden of farmers and increase their production and income.
During his interpellation on the 2023 proposed budget of DA, Lee pointed out the need for NIA to step up since farmers have been deprived of better irrigation services despite billions of funds given to the agency in the last few years.
Lee cited as examples several irrigation systems from Oas, Albay and Libmanan, Camarines Sur which were brought to his attention by affected farmers who consider these dysfunctional projects as “waste of taxpayer’s money.”
“Sa pag-iikot ko, napakarami ng mga reklamong ipinararating sa akin ng mga magsasaka tungkol sa mga irrigation system na simula nung itayo at i-turnover ay hindi man lang gumana. Imbes na benepisyo, ang dulot ay perwisyo,” Lee said.
“Instead of allocating huge amounts of funds to building new ones, dapat pondohan din ang repair o rehabilitasyon ng mga patubig para ito ay gumana na at mapakinabangan kaagad ng ating mga magsasaka,” he added.
Lee cited as examples several irrigation systems from Oas, Albay and Libmanan, Camarines Sur which were brought to his attention by affected farmers who consider these disfunctional projects as “waste of taxpayer’s money.”
In the case of Oas, Albay, farmers complained about the irrigation system in Brgy. Talongog that has not been functional since its turnover in 2017. On the other hand, the MADABAST Agri Coop expressed their dissatisfaction about several irrigation systems, such as the one located in Brgy. San Pablo, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, that has not benefitted them since its construction eight years ago.
These complaints were personally given and forwarded by Lee to NIA Administrator Benny Antiporda, and was raised by the former during his interpellation on the proposed DA budget.
“As reported to me, the number of dismal projects and the amounts affected are staggering. I hope that under NIA’s new Administrator, we will no longer see these inefficiencies,” Lee said.
“We cannot achieve the lofty goals of the President for the agriculture sector if we cannot provide irrigation services to our farmers. Malaking tagas sa kaban ng bayan ang mga ipinapagawa pero hinahayaan lang na nakatiwangwang na mga patubig. Ang pondong inilalaan sa mga irigasyon ay dapat na umagos tungo sa paghahatid ng benepisyo sa mga magsasaka at kasaganahan sa agrikultura. Ang tagumpay ng magsasaka ay tagumpay ng consumer; Winner tayo lahat, ” Lee added.