BACOLOD CITY: Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he will order an investigation into the allegations of Negro farmers that they are being charged a fee for the use of water from government irrigation systems.
Christian Tuayon, secretary general of Bayan Muna-Negros, said the issue was raised during the dialogue with Piñol and sugar workers at the provincial Capitol Friday.
“It was the first time that Secretary Piñol learned that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is charging rice farmers in the province a fee. It should be free,” Tuayon said.
He said the NIA is charging P1,700 for every hectare in Bago City and Murcia town. The amount is considered as “membership fee” in the local irrigators association.
Tuayon quoted Piñol as saying that he will file charges against the NIA officials before the Ombudsman if the report is true.
EUGENE Y. ADIONG