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NIA-Bicol thumbs down Gatchalian’s condonation request for farmers

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No way.

This was National Irrigation Administration (NIA)-Bicol’s response to Senator Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian’s suggestion for the government to do away with the debt incurred by farmers through the decades with their Irrigation Service Fee (ISF).

NIA-Bicol Spokesman Ed Yu, in a Brigada FM News Naga report Wednesday (April 19), said that the agency’s employees rejected the condonation being sought by Gatchalian on behalf of the farmers.

Yu explained that such condonation would send the wrong message that it’s OK for the public to disregard its obligations to the government.

If anything, the NIA official said that it is the well-off plantation owners who mostly neglect to pay their ISF. On the other hand, the small farmers have been the ones paying the agency properly for their irrigation.

Yu said in a separate report that Bicol farmers’ irrigation debt is anywhere between P500 million and P800 million.