KMP decries DA cutting budget for crucial programs but favoring Marcos bailiwick | Inquirer News

KMP decries DA cutting budget for crucial programs but favoring Marcos bailiwick

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 07:19 PM September 05, 2022

A farmers’ group questioned why the DA is introducing cuts in “crucial programs” on irrigation and equipment for the national rice program.

Peasant leader Rafael Mariano. INQUIRER file photo / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — A farmers’ group on Monday questioned why the Department of Agriculture (DA) is introducing cuts in “crucial programs” on irrigation and equipment for the national rice program while favoring “Marcos territories” Ilocos Region and Eastern Visayas and its farm-to-market roads (MR) in its proposed 2023 budget.

According to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the DA in its proposed 2023 budget, imposed a P211-million budget cut for the Irrigation Network Service (INS); a P700-million budget cut on the Provision of Agricultural Equipment and Facilities (PAEF) on the National Rice Program and an P82-million cut from the Extension Support, Education, and Training Services budget for the National Livestock Program.


“These are crucial projects, activities, and programs related to the recovery of the slumped rice and livestock sectors. Why impose these budget cuts?” asked KMP chairman emeritus and former agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano.


These cuts came despite the increase in the DA’s proposed budget — which KMP found “dubious” as it noted that the DA gave “funding preference for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of FMR in key production areas in known ‘Marcos territories’ like in Regions 1 and 8.”

Mariano said that the budget for FMR roads could quickly become “farm-to-pockets” given the vulnerability to corruption of road concreting projects.

“Sana, hindi tatambakan lang ng graba (gravel) ang isang kilometro ng kalsada tapos tatawagin nang farm-to-market road. Kailangan busisiin ang mga badyet para sa farm-to-market roads dahil dito laging may mga kumukubra,” Mariano said.

(Hopefully, this won’t just be a one-kilometer road filled with gravel and then called a farm-to-market road. Budgets for farm-to-market roads need to be scrutinized because there are always cover-ups.)

“Huge amounts are spent on roads that are repaired or rebuilt over and over, resulting in favored contractors and duplication of projects. Corruption is also a given in these projects,” he added.

The budget for farm-to-market roads increased from P7.5 billion to P13.1 billion, with P1.86 billion going to the Ilocos Region and P1.41 billion in Eastern Visayas — a region with many FMR projects.


KMP said more than 100 FMR projects are in Ilocos Norte and Leyte provinces alone, with each ranging from P12 million to P30 million.

Mariano also urged the DA to explain the increase in the budget for the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program ( to P1.1 billion), the Young Farmers Challenge ( to P150 million), and Binhi ng Pag-Asa (to P100 million) programs.

“Technically, this budget for SAAD is a budget for counterinsurgency under the guise of social and economic interventions such as social preparation, production and livelihood, marketing assistance and enterprise development. We want to know, how in reality, SAAD aids in poverty alleviation of farmers and fishers when the most basic issues in rural communities are not being addressed,” Mariano said.

The group also lamented the glaring lack of budget for the coconut industry and the development of local fertilizers.

Meanwhile, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Elizaldy Co earlier said that the higher budget proposed by the DA is meant to help lower food prices and strengthen food security.


DA to follow Bongbong Marcos’ order on food production 

Outgoing DA chief: PH agriculture ‘stunted growth’ due to insufficient budget 

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TAGS: Agriculture, Budget cut

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