Nabcor unit in North Cotabato says it should be excluded from abolition plan

...Firm exec says it has nothing to do with pork barrel scam of main office

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KABACAN, North Cotabato, Philippines – Employees of the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) here said they should not be included in President Aquino’s proposal to abolish the firm due to its alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.

The Commission on Audit’s (COA) investigation into pork barrel releases from 2007 to 2009, showed that P1.227 billion of pork barrel funds went to bogus non-governmental organizations recognized by the Nabcor.

But Rosauro Paniza, the Nabcor manager here, was quick to say that their field office was established on August 31, 2006, a year before the lawmakers allegedly poured their Priority Development Assistant Fund (PDAF) through the agency.

“We don’t know that our firm was involved in the pork scam,” Paniza told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Paniza said that in 2006, their field office was able to secure a P10-million grant from the Nabcor main office in Manila.

“If our corporation was involved in the multi-billion-peso scam, perhaps it was the main office and not the Nabcor’s field office in Kabacan,” Paniza said.

He said since they started operating “independently” with their P10 million capital in 2006, and has accumulated a profit of at least P2 million from buying and selling corn cubs and corn processing.

“In fact, the main office has not given us additional funds since 2006. There was even a time that the main office asked from us at least P500,000 for their operational expenses but we did not give in to their demands,” Paniza said.

Paniza said Nabcor’s 16 employees in North Cotabato have been getting their pay from their office’s profit.

“Whatever transaction entered into by the main office had nothing to do with us since we operate independently here in North Cotabato. It would be unfair if we are abolished because we don’t know the transactions happening in the main office” Paniza explained.

The Nabcor office in North Cotabato operates a corn processing plant and mechanical dryer, serving some 2,000 farmers in the entire province.

It also sells processed corn to firms like Cargill and B-Meg in General Santos City.

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