Marcos asks Procy Alcala: Where did P2.1B drought alleviation go in Mindanao?
Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. is asking Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala how his department deployed the P2.1 billion funds allocated for El Nino-stricken farmers in Mindanao.
“The question now is, how is the DA spending the P2.1 billion budget set to help our drought-affected farmers? The DA should explain so that the government can fine-tune the programs set and if needed, allocate more funds to augment it,” said Marcos.
The Department of Agriculture had sought a supplementary budget of P2.1 billion to assist farmers affected by the drought conditions caused by El Nino and spur agricultural production in the first quarter of 2016.
Based on its plan, the DAD had proposed to optimize production in areas not threatened by the dry spell and plant fast-maturing crops in areas vulnerable to drought.
The funds would be used cloud seeing operations, provision of open source pumps, replacement of non-serviceable pump and engine sets, construction of small irrigation systems, distribution of high quality and multi-stress variety of rice and corn seeds, promotion of mungbean, peanut, soybean, cucurbits and sweet potato as alternative crops, intensification of pest control, and provision of soil ameliorants “I deplore the use of bullets to answer legitimate demands of our farmers and their families in North Cotabato.
They are hungry and they are just asking for food so they can feed their families.
The violent dispersal was completely unnecessary,” he said adding that the police should have instead negotiated with the protesters.
Apparently, Marcos said the DA plan has not worked or has not been used as the famine-hit farmers complaining of hunger have set up barricades at the Davao-Cotabato Highway in Kidapawan City for three days until their violent dispersal on 1April 2016 which resulted to the death of two farmers and 30 wounded.
The farmers were asking for the release of the province’s calamity fund and rice supplies as well as other government support to their condition.
Marcos has sought for the establishment of an inter-agency committee to look into the government response to the acute dry spell.