Press Release
December 9, 2008


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas is requiring the Department of Agriculture to submit to the Senate an outline of agriculture projects funded by lump sum allocations in the 2009 budget, to prevent a repeat of the P728-million fertilizer fund scam and other anomalies associated with the DA.

"The DA must be as specific as possible in outlining its various projects funded by lump sums. We need to know where these will be spent, how much will be spent and for what purpose," he said.

The Senate wrapped up deliberations on the DA's 2009 budget Monday night, with the DA committing to provide the requested documents to the Senate by tomorrow, Wednesday, before the agency's budget is approved.

"Ang mahalaga sa atin ay ang resulta. Ano ang ating ginagastusan at magkano ang napupunta sa bawat probinsya? Prayoridad ba natin ito? (The important thing here is results. What are we spending on and how much goes to each province? Are these priorities?)" added Roxas, who has advocated a short-term and long-term for increased local rice production.

Of the P225.6 billion in lump-sum allocations over P100 million in the 2009 budget, P23.69 billion are for the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Plan, as follows:

  1. P9,438,862,000 - Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Rice program;

  2. P6,000,000,000 - Restoration/rehabilitation of irrigation systems;

  3. P3,650,000,000 - Repair/rehabilitation and construction of farm-to-market roads;

  4. P2,154,011,000 - GMA High Value Commercial Crops program;

  5. P1,373,461,000 - Requirements of Program Beneficiaries Development Component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program; and

  6. P1,075,929,000 - GMA Fisheries program.

"This check and balance measure of looking into each budgetary lump sum is needed now more than ever. I hope that we have learned our lesson from former DA usec Joc-Joc Bolante," he said.

"It is crucial to spend properly during this economic downturn, to ensure that our people continue to eat well. If we can keep up rice production, we will have gotten through the worst of it," he added.

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