Farmers’ group says Makati building investigators politicking

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INSTEAD of using the resources and time of the Senate to tarnish the reputation of a public servant like Vice President Jejomar Binay, senators investigating alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2 should focus on more pressing issues that the country is facing, according to a farmers’ organization.

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The investigators are led by perceived pro-administration Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th.

Rep. Delphine Gan Lee, speaking for the group Agri, which he represents in the House of Representatives, on Wednesday said in a statement that the probe only serves the ambition of a few at the expense of 100 million Filipinos who stand to gain from “serious discussions on poverty, joblessness, crime, inflation and national security.”

If the senators are earnestly inquiring into corruption and misuse of government funds, Lee added, then they at the same time should look into insufficient irrigation, declining productivity and high food prices as possibly being caused by graft and poor governance.

According to the party-list lawmaker, the agricultural sector accounts for almost 35 percent of the country’s total workforce, a number that entitles them to better treatment from the senators investigating the allegedly overpriced Building 2 in terms of pro-farmer legislation.

Lee said agricultural farms occupy 32 percent of the total land area of the country, and that from 2004 to 2010, the agricultural sector contributed an average of more than 18% percent to the Gross Domestic Product or GDP while exports from the sector during the period rose from $2.5 billion to $4.1 billion.

According to the lawmaker, farmers’ groups are grateful to Binay, who has called attention to how poor performance of the agricultural sector has far-reaching effects on the lives of Filipinos everywhere.

“While those who have aspirations for higher office have chosen to focus on their personal fortunes, [the]Vice President has focused on improving the plight of our farmers and our people,” Lee said.

The Senate blue ribbon sub-committee will resume its probe of alleged irregularities in the construction of Makati City Hall Building 2 today and is expected to report on its inspection of the structure last Monday.

The committee had also been expected to formally issue an invitation to the Vice President for him to attend today’s hearing.

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