DA gets P5-B budget hike

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THE Department of Agriculture (DA) was granted a P5 billion budget hike for next year despite releasing P44 million to a bogus non-government organization (NGO) ran by Janet Napoles.

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Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala sought the approval of a P79 billion budget for 2014 before the House Committee on Appropriations, an allocation higher than the agency’s 2013 budget of P74 billion.

Of the P79 billion proposed budget, P70 billion was alloted for the DA proper, while P9.91 billion was earmarked as budgetary support for the Government Owned and Controlled Corporations under the DA. These are the National Dairy Authority (P262 million), National Food Authority (P4.25 billion), National Irrigation Administration (P1.1 billion), National Tobacco Administration (P 219 million), Philippine Coconut Authority (P2.38 billion), Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (P1.18 billion) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (P546 million).

For the DA proper, the Office of the Secretary will get P64 billion while the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will receive P4.9 billion, followed by Philippine Carabao Center (P481 million), National Meat Inspection Service (P375 million), National Agricultural and Fishery Council (P300 million).

Allocations for the DA’s other agencies are as follows: Fiber Industry Development Authority (P243 million), Philippine Center for Post-Harvest Development and Mechanization (P201 million), Cotton Development Administration (P62 million), Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (P57 million), Agricultural Credit Policy Council (P56 million) and Livestock Development Council (P44 million).

Alcala conceded that the DA released P44 million from its Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the Napoles-run Kaupdanan para sa Manguguma Foundation in 2012 because the NGO was certified as legitimate by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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