Villar frowns on P28-M gov’t loan for lettuce production in Pangasinan
Senator Cynthia Villar expressed disbelief on Monday on a P28-million loan that the government granted for a “greenhouse farming for lettuce production” in Pangasinan.
Villar chairs the Senate committee on agriculture, which is deliberating on a bill, extending the utilization period of the Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).
ACEF, which was set up for irrigation, farm-to-market roads, post harvest facilities, credit, research and development, retraining, extension services and marketing infrastructure for the agriculture sector, is set to expire this December.
During the hearing, Villar directed Agriculture Undersecretary Antonio Fleta, head of ACEF National Committee, to enumerate the amounts and the names of individuals and cooperatives who benefited from the total P5.887 billion loan fund of the ACEF.
It was then that Fleta mentioned the P28.500 million loan granted to James Philip Guevarra of the Genmar Commercial Enterprise for the “greenhouse farming for lettuce production” in Rosales City, in Pangasinan.
“Lettuce? Lettuce? P28 million lettuce” Villar repeatedly asked during the hearing.
“Lettuce lang so big-time na lettuce ito? P500,000 lang ang isang greenhouse e. Katakot-takot na greenhouse to (This is big-time lettuce [project]. Each greenhouse costs P500,000, so this means many greenhouses).” she added.
At the start of the hearing, Villar noted that there seemed to be an abuse of the funds as the loans granted to borrowers did not go below P50 million.
“Maski ikaw ang DBM ayaw mo na ring mag-release kasi puro kalokohan lang yan e. Ang minimum amount ng mga loan e P50 million, pagtingin ko pa lang dun alam ko na na puro kalokohan ang nangyayari sa ACEF,” she said, referring to the Department of Budget and Management.
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