Sen. Cynthia Villarin scrutinizing the proposed budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA), madesure funding will go to projects, research and application that will helpFilipino farmers and fisherfolks.
During the secondhearing of the finance subcommittee on the P71.8 billion proposed budget of DAfor year 2020, Villar reminded DA officials headed by Sec. William Dar to spendno more than 50 percent of their budget for overhead or operating expenses.
“Ang gusto natinmas malaki ang mapupuntang budget sa projects dahil iyon ang nakakatulong samga tao. Hindi tama na mas malaki ang napupunta sa pasweldo, sa maintenance andoperating expenses habang kulang ang tulong sa farmers,” Villar said.
Villar, chair ofthe Committee on Agriculture and Food, also scrutinized the proposed budgets ofDA’s flagship programs for rice, corn, livestock, organic agriculture,high-value crops, fisheries and halal to make sure they are allocating moremoney for items that will really help farmers and fisherfolks improve theirproductivity and increase their income.
The lady senatorwent over the budget of each of the 26 bureaus and government corporations underDA and asked heads of offices to explain how they intend to spend their budgets.
She called out theP150 million budget of the department for research under the National CornProgram, saying research without application will not benefit the farmers.
“Hindi ba mas gustong magsasaka na makatanggap ng libreng seeds at machinery? Bakit hindi tayogumastos para doon? More government money should be spent for projects, not forthe expenses of the bureaucracy,” Villar said.
Usec. Ariel Cayananlater in the hearing reported that the program’s budget was recast to reflectthe suggestion of Villar for more spending on projects.
Villar also toldthe Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority to allocate funds that willhelp develop the local fiber. She said PhilFIDA should put the budget increaseit got last year not on the salary increase of its personnel but on programsthat will help the industry.
“I am supportingthe development of our local fiber. It will be better if we could source thematerial we use in our blanket-weaving livelihood project locally,” Villarsaid.
The NacionalistaParty senator also advised the Philippine Rubber Research Institute, whichallocated 75 percent of its budget for overhead, to come up with programs likethe distribution of seedlings to farmers to help farmers have additionalsources of income. (senate.gov.ph)