MILITANT peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) brought their call for the resignation of agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala to cyberspace and called on netizens to support their call by flooding Alcala’s twitter account @procyalcala with #alcalaresign.
“We are now using social media to send the message straight to Alcala and his Quezon Mafia to step down and be accountable for the continuing plunder of agricultural funds intended for farmers,” Antonio Flores, the group’s secretary general, said.
“We call on netizens to bombard Alcala’s account – @procyalcala #alcalaresign. The agriculture secretary and his gang’s plunder of agricultural funds are the biggest stumbling block to food security,” the peasant leader added.
“The existence of Napoles nongovernment organization (NGOs) in the DA’s list of accredited NGOs is a crystal clear proof of the continuing plunder of taxpayer’s money in the agriculture department. Worst, Alcala himself placed fake NGOs under his own control,” Flores said, referring to the Isa Akong Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. led by Alcala’s head executive assistant and AgriPinoy program director Arnulfo Manalac.
KMP earlier filed a plunder case against President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Alcala, and several top ranking officials of the Department of Agriculture involving bogus NGOs and the plunder of millions of pork barrel funds.
“Those involved in the scam were using the hapless farmers and their miserable situation as justification for the release of the public funds they have squandered. Equally revolting is the fact that the agencies of the government, one way of another, facilitated, abetted and even directly twisted rules and regulations to ensure the successful pillage of public funds,” the plunder complaint said.
Aside from his involvement in the pork barrel scam, Flores said that Alcala is also the prime coddler of rice cartels who were responsible for the recent skyrocketing rice prices.
“If recalled, it was Alcala who supported the claim that there is a “shortage of palay” which is in reality a maneuver to justify the massive and corruption-ridded rice importation. In fact, it was under Alcala that the scam of the half-billion-peso-Vietnam rice deal happened,” he said.
The peasant leader also noted that Alcala has been dipping his hands over the multi-billion coco levy funds due to his plans for the establishment of “agri-industrial estates” that would have at its core a coconut-processing center, at least five of which would be established in major coconut producing areas. The coconut-processing center would cost P50 million, with financing to come from the coco levy fund.
“The Aquino government granted Alcala’s wish by including in the proposed P2.3 billion budget of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) for next year a P305 million allocation for the establishment of “Agro-Industrial Hubs” in five regions, namely, Region IV-A – Calabarzon, Region V- Bicol, Region VI – Western Visayas, Region VIII – Eastern Visayas, and Region IX – Zamboanga Peninsula or P61 million for each region,” Flores said. NEIL A. ALCOBER