GREEN ALLIANCE ASKS AQUINO:

Where’s P58-B fund for El Niño?

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STAR POWER Internationally acclaimed actress Nora Aunor speaks at a protest rally led by the Nationwide and Global Action for Land, Food and Justice on Mendiola Street in Manila on Friday. The mass action demanded justice for farmers killed and injured in the so-called April 1 Kidapawan Massacre. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

STAR POWER Internationally acclaimed actress Nora Aunor speaks at a protest rally led by the Nationwide and Global Action for Land, Food and Justice on Mendiola Street in Manila on Friday. The mass action demanded justice for farmers killed and injured in the so-called April 1 Kidapawan Massacre. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

President Benigno Aquino 3rd should face the public squarely and explain what happened to the supposed P58-billion government fund allocation to help farmers deal with the impact of a massive dry spell brought by the El Niño phenomenon.

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The Green Action Philippines on Friday raised this point after hundreds of farmers from North Cotabato province in southern Mindanao staged a protest rally in Kidapawan City on March 30 to April 1 that in the presence of policemen turned violent in the end.

The protesters demanded five sacks of rice from the provincial government for each of them. But they failed to get approval and the rally ended in a bloody dispersal, resulting in the death of three farmers and injuries to more than 100 people, including policemen.
President Aquino has since kept his silence on what critics have referred to as the Kidapawan Massacre.

According to Sanshen Maglinte, Green Action Philippines spokesman, the President last year promised that he would order the release of some P19 billion in calamity funds to mitigate the massive negative effects of El Niño.

Aside from the P19 billion, Maglinte said, about P39 billion more was handed over to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund for 2016.

“The Aquino government has even crafted the Roadmap to Address the Impact of El Niño [RAIN]. What happened to the funds [P19 billion and P39 billion] and to RAIN?” she asked.

Maglinte noted that the Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Irrigation Administration, can even request an additional budget once the funds allocated to victims of calamities called Quick Response Fund (QRF) has been used up.

On top of the QRF, local government units (LGUs) are allowed to use at least 5 percent of their own fund generated from regular revenues for calamity assistance.

“As the devastation wrought by the extreme drought due to the El Niño phenomenon spreads and heightens across the country, the Aquino government has again been slow to respond. It has also been slow to take decisive action for the farmers in the face of gross violations of their human rights perpetrated by the local Philippine National Police and under the administration of North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza,” Maglinte said.

Estrella Catarata, executive director of the Philippine Network of Food Security Programs, a member of Green Action Philippines, said the extreme dry spell that started last year prevented many farmers in many parts of the country from planting and harvesting in May and October in 2015.

The “lean period extended from the usual five to seven months to more than nine months. But assistance from the government has been wanting and slow, and obviously has not reached most of the starving farmers and their families. The pangs of hunger have prompted them to organize, struggle and demand rice and support from the calamity funds of the government,” Catarata explained.

The problem with the Aquino Administration, according to Bantay Bigas spokesman Cathy Estavillo, is that “instead of assisting the poorest of its constituents, the farmers and the indigenous peoples, the government has neglected them at the height of their hunger.”
Bantay Bigas is also a member of the alliance.

Maglinte said, “If the government only genuinely prepared for El Niño and channeled the funds where they were meant, this tragedy [at Kidapawan]would not have happened. In the longer term, had the government dedicated funds to more productive programs such as developing post-harvest facilities, subsidies, sustainable agriculture programs and appropriate technologies for irrigation instead of the piece-meal Conditional Cash
Transfer Program, our farmers would not be as badly hit by calamities.”

She added that the President should explain clearly where the P58-billion fund went and for what purposes it was really used.

The Green Action Philippines describes itself as “a broad national alliance of networks and organizations, institutions including [LGUs], church and inter-faith organizations, academe, students, professionals and individuals, producers and consumers with common advocacies leading toward sustainable production and sustainable consumption.”

It advocates “organic farming, toxic free and GMO free-food and non-food products, sustainable use and allocation of natural resources, as well as food security, including campaign against large-scale mining, GMO-free Philippine farms and genuine agrarian reform, among others.”

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20 Comments

  1. Ngayon nagsisisi na ba ang mga makadilaw, maraming bomoboto dahil sa simpatiya hindi nagiisip. Mas grabe ang krimen, korapsyon at kahirapan. Gumising at imulat ang mga mata sa katutuhanan at piliin ang karapat dapat na mamumuno sa ating Bansa.

  2. Gone with the wind… magically disappeared… well not a surprise anymore…just pure talk no action…that is the Daang Matuwid way of giving assistance to the bosses who are in dire need of help… empty promises..

  3. Kung naibulsa na ang perang yan – all culprits involved must be killed thru firing squad ASAP. No need to wait after the election on May 9, 2016.

  4. They will say, they bought fertilizers that are now on the ground! Diba, Noynoy?

  5. Di narelease ang pondo at klaro na walang follow-up na ginawa ang gobyerno, 3-days na ang protesta pero hindi inaksiyunan ng gobyerno, si PNoy ang head ng gobyerno si PNoy lang ang makakasagot ng mga ito, alam niya kung paano lumabas at may ahensya para ma-audit ang pondo na inilaan para sa El-Nino, kaya dapat lang na si PNoy ang sisihin sa ngayon dahil sa kanya manggagaling ang kasagutan kung bakit di naiparating ang pondo nilaan sa mga magsasaka, at hinantay pang magkamatayan bago inaksyunan, parang SAF44 lang hinantay na lang maubusan ng bala at iniwan na lang sila sa kalagitnaan ng labanan, yan si PNoy tatak style ng mga Aquino at Cojuangco sa mga magsasaka sa Tarlac

  6. .

    Nagtataka pa ba kayo. Ilan lang yan namatay at ilan ang sugatan? Naaalala pa ba ninyo na mahigit na 6,000 ang namatay sa Tacloban Typhoon Yolanda at halos 95% ng mga bahay ay na wash-out, 2-years ago na, punta kayo ngayon sa Tacloban Leyte, at alamin ninyo kung kailan bumuhus ang aid from National Government?

    Alam ba ninyo na from 1986 to 2016 ay yellow armies ang siga-siga sa Malakanyang?

    Ah, alam pala ninyo eh, eh bakit umaasa pa kayo ng mabilis na pagkilos eh, alam naman ninyo kung gaano kabagal sa pagtugon ang mga government officials natin na nasa malakanyang?

    .

  7. PNP Chief said: no order to disperse protesters, his instruction was to clear the Hi-way. WHAT??? stupid! the fact the protesters are occupying the hi-way only means you wanted them out/dispersed!

  8. Blame pnoy again. A president in democratic society cannot micro manage all local government units. Thats why there are congressmen, senators and mayors so the blaming game should start on these them to the chain of command.

    • In most countries that would be the way it works but this is the Philippines we are talking about. Pnoy and Abad control all the money, remember the Dap fund scandal ? the pork barrel scandal ?

      Should be easy to ask people like Dinky Soliman who heads the Department of Social Welfare and Development or Abad who heads the Dept of budget management where the money is but they wont have any answers.

      What happens in the Philippines is the government claims to have programs funded but in reality the money never gets there.

      Like the 10 billion that was supposed to upgrade the airport only to find out after the bullet planting scandal that only half the money was received so they didn’t have the other 5 billion to buy the cameras.

      The Philippines government plays a shell game with the money, saying it here, there, everywhere but whenever the money is needed the government starts dragging their feet trying to find some money.

      Where does the money go ? good question. Why doesn’t the COA know where the money is ?
      Aquino appointee’s control every agency all the way up to and including the Supreme Court.

    • Federal Pilipinas on

      “Thats why there are congressmen, senators”
      Their job is judicial not executive.

      That is why the Philippines needs to be a Federal Republic because of red-tape people outside Manila is suffering!

      We have the DA to manage such action but they failed greatly!

    • anton, am sure you know that here in our country, NOTHING MOVES WITHOUT THE GO AHEAD OF THE PRESIDENT. kita mo ang lumalabas sa hearing ng senado?? the governor was waiting for help from the national govt’. she, i do not know why, has not release aid to the farmers while waiting for national gov’t action on her request. as to the congressmen and senators, they did their job anton. they passed the budget allocating billions of pesos for mitigating the effects of the dry spell. the question now is where did the money go. sadly the answer to the money question is only benito and abadingding can order the release of funds.

    • Dapat lang sisihin si PNoy puro gunggong ang inupo nya sa pwesto ayaw pa sipain.

    • Wow, pag maganda resulta, Penoy gets all the credit, pero pag pangit, he is not supposed to take the blame??? Nagmamala uhog na talaga brain matter nyo sa sobrang pagkadilaw.

    • Dorie wilson on

      Ganoon naman talaga ang nangyayari dyan mostly ang mga Politicians dyan instead na tulungan nila ang taong mahihirap parang Lalo pa nilang pinaparusahan iyong mga itinutulong nang mga taga ibang bansa itinatago pa nila sa sarili nilang bulsa.At nasaan ang awa niyo sa kapwa?