Palace says P10-B Rice Fund won’t be corrupted
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday assured the public that the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or Rice Fund would not fall into corrupt hands.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the assurance amid fears that the Rice Fund would fall into corruption like what happened in the fertilizer fund scam.
“The President has zero tolerance for corruption and wastage of taxpayers’ money,” Panelo said in a statement.
“We continue to exercise accountability and transparency in all levels of the bureaucracy,” he added.
The P10-billion Rice Fund will come from revenue from the tariff on rice imports and is expected to benefit the country’s farmers.
The Rice Fund will be used to buy farm machinery to bring down farmers’ labor costs, provide them seeds to increase their harvest, and develop and modernize post-harvest facilities among others.
Panelo explained that the Agriculture Secretary would be accountable for the Rice Fund. The Department of Agriculture (DA) will also validate and update the list of eligible beneficiaries of the fund, which include farmers, farmworkers, rice cooperatives and associations.
He said the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization would conduct a periodic review of the fund.
The Presidential spokesperson appealed to rice farmers to be actively involved in crafting the rice industry roadmap and the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
“We ask rice farmer representatives and vital stakeholders to be pro-active in the discussion and review of the crafting of the Rice Industry Roadmap and IRR with other concerned agencies of the government to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of the new measure, including assuring that safeguards aimed at eliminating corruption are in place,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Rice Tariffication Law which replaces the quantitative restrictions on imported rice with tariff. /cbb
READ: Duterte signs rice tariffication bill into law
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.