Villar asks DA to ensure return of P4-billion budget for RCEF
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Cynthia Villar on Monday asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure the return of the fund intended for a project to provide financial help to rice farmers.
Villar, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said that P5 billion was allocated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the DA for the implementation of the Republic Act No. 11203 — the law creating the P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
The senator said, however, that of the P5 billion released for the project, only P1 billion was used for RCEF.
“Kahit sabihin pa nila na kaya ginastos iyon dahil hindi pa napapasa ang RCEF, dapat naghintay sila at hindi ginastos sa ibang bagay,” Villar said in a statement, explaining that the funds were released before the law was signed on Feb. 14.
[Even if they say that it was spent because the RCEF had not been passed, they should have waited and not spent it on something else.]
“I want DA to account for the remaining P4 billion and also to make sure that P4 billion will be immediately returned to RCEF,” Villar added.
She also asked newly appointed acting Agriculture Secretary William Dar to prioritize the return of the remaining P4 billion intended for RCEF, underscoring that the fund would be needed for the projects enumerated in the law which was already delayed by the late approval of the 2019 General Appropriations Act.
Under the law, the P100billion RCEF will be allocated as follows:
- P5 billion for the Philippine Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) for the procurement of farm equipment to be given to rice-producing towns in the country
- P3 billion for the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to educate farmers on increasing their yield through the production of inbred seeds
- P1 billion for the Landbank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines for the creation of a credit facility for farmers
- P1 billion for PhilMech, PhilRice, the Agriculture Training Institute and the Technical Skills Development Authority for skills training for farmers
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.