Se­nate ap­proves ₱122-B DA bud­get

Tempo - - Comics -

The Se­nate on Fri­day ap­proved the pro­posed ₱122-bil­lion bud­get for the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture led by Sec­re­tary Manny Piñol.

Sen. Cyn­thia A. Vil­lar, chair­per­son of the Se­nate Agri­cul­ture and Food Com­mit­tee, said the DA bud­get for the com­ing fiscal year is 3.34 per­cent of the pro­posed na­tional bud­get amount­ing to ₱3.757 tril­lion.

But with a sched­uled brief­ing to­mor­row morn­ing for sen­a­tors on a re­quest by the mil­i­tary for an ex­ten­sion of the dec­la­ra­tion of mar­tial law in Min­danao and a prob­a­ble joint Se­nate and House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ses­sion on the mat­ter Wed­nes­day, it is likely that the pro­posed 2019 ₱3.757-tril­lion na­tional bud­get might not be ap­proved be­fore the two leg­isla­tive cham­bers go on a month-long Christ­mas re­cess start­ing Dec. 15.

The ap­proval of the DA bud­get fol­lowed a spon­sor­ship speech by Vil­lar and a sub­se­quent floor de­bate.

“We are hope­ful, Mr. Pres­i­dent (Se­nate Pres­i­dent Vi­cente C. Sotto III) that the pro­posed 2019 bud­get of DA will re­al­ize our goal of lift­ing Filipino farm­ers and fish­er­folk out of poverty. Par­tic­u­larly rice and co­conut farm­ers who make up for seven mil­lion of the 12 mil­lion farm­ers in the coun­try since un­der next year’s pro­posed bud­get, we have re­aligned ₱20 bil­lion to pro­vide for standby ap­pro­pri­a­tions for the rice and co­conut farm­ers,” Vil­lar said in her spon­sor­ship speech.

Of the total bud­get, ₱15.70 bil­lion was ear­marked for pro­grams and ₱14.97 bil­lion for projects. The pro­grams are:

– Na­tional Rice Pro­gram, ₱7.41 bil­lion.

– Na­tional Live­stock, ₱1.05 bil­lion.

– Na­tional Corn, ₱1.53 bil­lion. – Na­tional High Value Crops,

₱1.48 bil­lion.

– Na­tional Or­ganic Agri­cul­ture,

₱545.86 mil­lion.

– Halal Food In­dus­try Devel­op­ment, ₱44.63 mil­lion.

– Other Reg­u­lar Pro­grams, ₱3.63 bil­lion.

Vil­lar also high­lighted the ₱10-bil­lion Rice Fund, the most sig­nif­i­cant com­po­nent of the rice tar­if­fi­ca­tion bill which would be spent to im­prove com­pet­i­tive­ness and pro­duc­tiv­ity of farm­ers.

Un­der the Rice Fund, 50 per­cent will go to the Philip­pine Cen­ter for Post Har­vest Devel­op­ment and Mod­ern­iza­tion to pro­vide farm­ers with rice farm ma­chiner­ies and equip­ment;

Thirty per­cent will be re­leased to the Philip­pine Rice Re­search In­sti­tute in La­guna to be used for the devel­op­ment, prop­a­ga­tion, and pro­mo­tion of in­bred rice seeds to rice farm­ers and the or­ga­ni­za­tion of rice farm­ers into seed grow­ers as­so­ci­a­tions en­gaged in seed pro­duc­tion and trade;

Ten per­cent will be made avail­able in the form of credit fa­cil­ity with min­i­mal in­ter­est rates and with min­i­mum col­lat­eral re­quire­ments to rice farm­ers and co­op­er­a­tives to be man­aged by the Land Bank of the Philip­pines and the Devel­op­ment Bank of the Philip­pines;

Ten per­cent will be set aside to fund ex­ten­sion ser­vices by PhilMech, Agri­cul­tural Train­ing In­sti­tute, and the Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity for teach­ing skills on rice crop pro­duc­tion, mod­ern rice farm­ing tech­niques, seed pro­duc­tion, farm mech­a­niza­tion, and knowl­edge and tech­nol­ogy trans­fer through farm schools na­tion­wide. (Mario B. Casayu­ran)

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