Press Release
December 13, 2007


The Philippine Senate yesterday approved on third and final reading a bill extending the utilization of a P6.6-Billion fund primarily appropriated to subsidize certain local agricultural sectors adversely affected by importation.

Senate Majority Leader and Independent senator Kiko Pangilinan said that the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), which expires in 2007, would finance more agricultural researches, study grants and scholarships, and advanced post-harvest equipment.

"The use of the ACEF must be more focused now," Kiko stressed. "The fund must be directly used to alleviate the financial burdens caused by the high influx of imported agricultural products on our own local farmers."

Kiko gave his nod to the bill sponsored by Sen. Ed Angara particularly because he is convinced that the fund, if properly spent "will substantially help the farmers become more productive, aside from possibly providing agricultural scholarships to them and their children."

ACEF is sourced from the accumulated proceeds of duties from the importation of agricultural products. Both Houses shall thresh out the final provisions of the said extension measure in the Bicameral Conference meeting next week.

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