SEN. Cynthia A. Villar sponsored on Tuesday Senate Bill (SB) No. 1465 calling for free irrigation services to small farmers.
“But irrigation water, it is something that is already there, seeping through furrows in many farms, lapping onto the yards of farmers. It is something which has already been delivered. The only thing left is to waive the bill,” Mr. Recto explained. “Irrigation is an unpostponable exercise because water is a non-substitutable input in growing food.”
SB 1465 aims to level the playing field for Filipino farmers with the farmers of Thailand and Vietnam, who are subsidized by their governments. Moreover, the measure aims to help address other barriers to improved living conditions for farmers such as: lack of mechanization, technical expertise, financial security, and lack of access to cheap credit. “As we work on breaking down the barriers, we also have to take care of helping them in their daily burdens and concerns, such as irrigation service fees. Being among the poorest in the country, for them, every few centavos do count,” Ms. Villar said. — Jill Danielle M. Caro