Chiz says no to irrigation fees

September 15, 2009 at 1:53 am Leave a comment


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By Brando Cortez

LINGAYEN — Opposition Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero impressed a crowd of presidents of different irrigators’ associations representing the first, second and third districts of Pangasinan as he batted for the scrapping of irrigation fees that farmers have been paying for the use of government infrastructure.

The farmers burst into applause after Escudero spoke of his observation that the farmers are being charged fees for infrastructure constructed from the people’s taxes while the rich do not pay anything when they use government infrastructure.

Escudero attended a forum of irrigators here during his recent visit to several towns of Pangasinan.

“Gawa ng gawa ng kalye ang gobyerno at ang mga may kotse, gamit ng gamit ng kalye wala namang binabayaran,” Escudero said. “ Bakit ang magsasaka, tuwing gagawa ng kanal para sa irigasiyon ang gobyerno, sinisingil ang magsasaka sa kada litro ng tubig na dadaan sa kanal na ginawa at ginastusan ng gobyerno?”

“Bakit tila masyadong pinapaboran ang mayayaman kesa sa mahihirap samantalang dating may pera naman ang mayayaman at kaya niyang magbayad? Escudero continued. “Bakit ang mahihirap na konti ang pera, siya pa ang pilit at laging pinagbabayad?

“Dapat wala nang babayaran ang mga magsasaka sa paggamit ng irrigation canal,” Escudero said.

Anong Manalo, President of the Pangasinan Federation of Irrigators’ Associations, agreed with Escudero’s observations.

“Matagal na po naming hinihiling na tanggalin na ang irrigation service fees na kinokolekta,” Manalo said. “Nagmumula din naman sa buwis ng taumbayan ang ginagastos ng gobyerno sa pagpapagawa ng irigasyon. Bakit kailangang singilin pa kami?”

An irrigation service fee, called an assessment, is being collected from farmers to defray the cost of construction, operation and maintenance of irrigation facilities.

Governor Amado Espino had previously conducted a Farmers’ Forum at the Agricultural Training Institute in Tebag, Sta. Barbara with presidents and officers of irrigators’ associations in the fourth, fifth and sixth districts of Pangasinan.

The irrigations issues raised during the previous forum have already been attended to and solved while the others are already on the pipeline.

“Na-repair na iyon nadamage na irrigation canal sa Asingan at iyong iba naman ay ginagawa na,” Manalo said. “Salamat kay Gob sa kanyang madaliang paglutas sa mga issues na ipinarating namin sa kanya.”

Espino said that the forum is an avenue for the farmers to air their problems in the irrigation of their farms and have these issues solved immediately.

During the forum, the problem or issue is rooted out, the responsible persons or agencies and the farmers involved are brought together and a solution is worked out.

Also present at the Farmers’ Forum were Abono Party List chair Engr. Rosendo O. So, Sison Mayor Kimi Cojuangco, 5th District Rep. Mark Cojuangco and Mapandan Mayor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr.

Entry filed under: News.

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