Dominguez rebuts Marcos on Masagana 99 feat: ‘I cleaned up the mess’
MANILA, Philippines — Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III and Senator Imee Marcos on Wednesday had a brief verbal exchange on the “success” of Masagana 99 where the former disputed the claims of the late dictator’s scion about her father’s agricultural program.
During a hybrid Senate hearing tackling updates about the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marcos asked Dominguez on the proposed P130 billion to P160 billion stimulus package for businesses and other sectors affected by the virus crisis.
Subsequently, Marcos said: “During Masagana 99 in the early 70s, there was a very effective use of commercial banks, rural banks, and even cooperative banks.
“And I believe that scheme will truly work, however, perhaps we can consider enlarging the national government stake even in that regard.”
But, Dominguez, who served as agriculture secretary of President Corazon Aquino – who succeeded President Ferdinand Marcos who was toppled via a bloodless people’s revolution, quickly disagreed.
“Ma’am before we go ahead, regarding the Masagana 99. I was Secretary of Agriculture that cleaned up the mess of Masagana 99,” he told the senator.
“There were 800 rural banks that were bankrupted by that program, we had to rescue them. whether it was a total success or not, it has to be measured against them,” he added.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, then said that perhaps Masagana 99 was successful in rice exportation.
However, Dominguez disputed her statement again: “Ma’am, no, we never exported rice.”
Consequently, Marcos said: “I prefer to stick to the finance data for now po. But for the meantime, iba po ‘yung aking data, atsaka na lang po tayo mag-diskusyon (I have different data, then maybe we can discuss it next time).”
Launched in 1973, or a year after martial law was declared, Masagana 99 was a program aimed at making the Philippines rice self-sufficient by funding the increase in unmilled rice production to 99 cavans per hectare.
In the current Duterte administration, however, the Department of Agriculture revived the program in 2017 and was renamed Masaganang Ani 200.
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