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Villar blocks DAR’s P10.3-B budget for 2018

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By Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola

Senator Cynthia Villar on Friday blocked  the approval of the P10.3-billion proposed budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for next year, questioning the agency’s move to allot only a small portion of the allocation to providing farm equipment for farmers.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, pushed DAR to allocate more for the provision of farm machine and equipment.

“The barriers of farmers toward stability and competitiveness is mechanization so we have to mechanize both in the aspect of producing the product and in processing,” she said, citing it was found by a study.

During the deliberation of the Senate Finance Sub-committee on its 2018 proposed budget, a dismayed Villar grilled DAR officials after learning that they will spend a small chunk of the P10.3 billion for training farmers.

According to the senator, the DAR will only allot some 20 percent of its allocation for purchasing farm equipment.

“Mechanization should be very important… Hindi ang mga training lang… Kung hindi niyo bibigyan ng equipment paano magme-mechanize? (It’s not just training. If you don’t give them equipment, how can you mechanize them?),” she said.

“For example 300 million, 50 million ang equipment, tapos 250 million yun ang training that’s not normal. I mean dapat 250 million ang equipment, 50 million ang training! Baliktad di ba?” she added.

Villar also questioned the DAR for allocating “half of its budget” for its personal services.

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  • Elmer B. Sambo

    Budget without basis or plan will not go anywhere. Agricultural Development is one of the most important program of the present administration. Sen. Villar is right in blocking this budget as this budget is not based on a solid agricultural development plan. DAR should come out with an agricultural development plan and the approach should be based on the following principles:
    • Listening to farmers and addressing their specific needs. DAR should talk to farmers about the crops they want to grow and eat, as well as the unique challenges they face. DAR should partner with organizations that understand and are equipped to address these challenges, and DAR should invest in research to identify relevant and affordable solutions that farmers want and will use.
    • Increasing farm productivity. DAR should support a comprehensive approach to helping smallholder farmers prosper that includes access to heartier seeds, more effective tools and farm management practices, locally relevant knowledge, emerging digital technologies, and reliable markets. DAR should also advocate for agricultural policies that support farmers in their efforts to better feed themselves and their communities.
    • Fostering sustainable agricultural practices. In an era of increasingly scarce resources and growing impact of climate change, DAR should encourage farmers to embrace and adopt sustainable practices that help them grow more with less land, water, fertilizer, and other costly inputs while preserving natural resources for future generations.
    • Achieving greater impact with partners. DAR should be committed to communicating their strategy more effectively and sharing what they have learned with grantees and other partners, including nongovernmental organizations, traditional and emerging donors, and the private sector. DAR resources, while significant, represent only a fraction of what is needed. Collaborating effectively with others maximizes DAR collective impact in helping farming families.
    Without proper strategy this 10.2 billion pesos budget will be better used in other government projects.

  • deepdiver

    You what the problem with DAR is why the program didn’t make an impact? The program lack financial support. Here in Negros, the farmers after or even before receiving their CLOAs already sold or leased the land and it is happening at 80% of the recipients and DAR knows yet yet they are tolerating the practice.
    To make the program successful, the CARP program must include financial assistance so that the farmers will not sell or lease the land. What will they do anyway with the land if they have no money to finance the initial operation?