• Food czar’s P9.8-B budget for urban irrigation ‘wasteful’

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    AN anti-corruption watchdog has called on all other concerned groups to take a second look at a P9.8-billion budget allocated to the office of food security head Secretary Francis Pangilinan, purportedly for irrigation projects in Metro Manila, the National Capital Region or NCR.

    Mike Domingo, convenor of People for Empowerment and Truth (PET), over the weekend described the multibillion-budget allocation as a “total waste of the people’s hard earned money.”

    “Saan ka naman nakakita ng irrigation project dito sa Metro Manila? Paano niya gagastusin ang napakaraming perang iyan sa irrigation eh wala namang mga bukid dito sa lungsod [Where in Metro Manila would you see any irrigation project? How will he {Pangilinan} spend that big amount for irrigation when there are no fields in the region]?” Domingo asked.

    He said it was an obvious attempt by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Pangilinan’s fellow Liberal Party member, to reward the food czar with an excessive amount that he can utilize at his own discretion.

    According to Domingo, PET and other groups fear that the P9.8-billion budget could be used by Pangilinan, a former senator, in preparation for the 2016 elections.

    The food czar is known to be seeking the vice presidency and supposedly is coveting the position of Agriculture secretary all for himself ahead of those elections, as a launching pad for his political ambition.

    Former National Treasurer Leonor Briones in an earlier interview said questionable allocations such as what was given to Pangilinan smell like election budgets.

    “With the 2016 national polls just around the corner, it cannot be denied that the proposed budget for next year is an election budget,” Briones added, apparently referring to the 2015 General Appropriations Act.

    Also, Rafael Mariano, chairman of peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, also earlier expressed dismay over the allocation for Pangilinan, saying “the P9.89-billion irrigation budget for NCR is another lump sum that is very vulnerable to corruption.”

    Mariano added that the amount was placed under the item Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses or MOOE of the National Irrigation Administration, instead of capital outlay “because there was obviously no irrigation project to speak of in NCR.”

    He said this early and with the irrigation budget placed under the MOOE, “consider it [P9.8 billion] plundered.”

    The MOOE covers traveling expenses, communications, grants and subsidies, confidential fund, training and scholarships.

    “It has nothing to do with providing water system for the farmlands of our farmers,” Mariano said.

    Domingo said of the multi-billion allocation, “Nice try but they could have done it more believably. Instead they did it haphazardly, leaving a bad taste in the mouth of every Filipino, especially our farmers who are among the poorest and most abused sectors in our society.”

    The National Irrigation Administration is the prime agency responsible for developing and managing water resources for irrigation and providing necessary services for agricultural development programs of the government.

    It is one of the four agencies under Pangilinan along with Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), National Food Authority and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.

    Meanwhile, Domingo raised a potential red flag on a P1.5-billion budget for farm-to-market road projects for the PCA.

    For the longest time, such projects have been the sole concern of the Department of Agriculture, and there was never a time that farm-to-market roads (FMRs) are undertaken for the PCA alone.

    “Simply because coconut plants are planted alongside other fruit-bearing trees, vegetable and other plants and products that are harvested and sold in the markets,” Domingo explained.

    “This [allocation of the P1.5-billion budget]shows [the government’s]obvious bias for agencies under Pangilinan, thus defeating the real purpose of FMRs [and that is]to open up fresh routes for trade and commerce that will help rural farmers’ capacity to sell their goods and gain access to public markets,” he said.

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    3 Comments

    1. Why not give that money directly to the poor instead of wasting it. Preparing money for use in the election will not be effective anymore. The people will no longer accept money in the election as they have to change due to bad to worst experience in the country Instead of going to farmers need in agriculture, it goes to become personal funds of the people in the administration. In this present administration most of the money are keep by the government officials for personal reward as a supporter of the presidents program which is more a personal interest. Everybody knows about this that even children of poor families work for anything like selling prohibited drugs, assisting thieves entering houses due to poverty. Children crying for food due to hunger said they will eat anything including witches and cockroaches.

    2. 2011 nagbigay si DBM Sikwatary BotchAbad ng P229.9M DAP sa Milk Feeding Program ng ASISSI DEVELOPMENET FOUNDATION (ADF) na question ng COA na 1) hindi naman ito ginamit sa Development Accelaration at 2) marami sa pirma ay questionable, fake, na di kayang ipaliwanag ng ADF officials na sila dating ambassador sa Vatican Howard Dee at ni Victoria Elisa ” Viel ” Aquino Dee.
      Sinagot ito ng president (?) ng ADF na huwag silang isali sa politika pagkat matagal na ang Milk Feeding Program ng ADF at hindi naman nila hiningi yuon P229.6M DAP kundi kusang binigay ito sa kanila ni DBM Sikwatary BotchAbad. Ang sinabi ng ADF president ay na confirmed ni Sikawat BotchAbad. Ang DAP ba ay pera ni BotchAbad?
      Ngayon naman ay P9.9B irrigation projects sa Metro Manila binigay ni BotchAbad budget kay Food Czar Kiko Panilinan? Baka kapag umambon ay lumobog kagad ang Metro Manila dahil sa Irrigation Projects, di ba Kiko?