Tag Archives: DA

Yap’s wait and see attitude puzzles militant group

By Billy Javier Reyes and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally Anakpawis party list wondered why up to now Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap refuses to vacate the Department of Agriculture (DA) post despite the Supreme Court announcement this week that all appointed government officials running in the May 2010 elections were deemed resigned when they filed their certificates of candidacy.

Secretary Yap had filed his certificate of candidacy and is running unopposed in his bid to represent the 3rd district of Bohol province this May 2010 polls. But Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Yap’s continued stay in the agriculture department revealed that the controversial Cabinet official has some “monkey business” to finish before the leaves office.

On Feb.23, the high tribunal issued decision directing all appointed government officials who are running for elective posts in May 2010 elections to quit public office. SC spokesperson Atty. Midas Marquez said the ruling was immediately executor, but the parties involved can file a motion for reconsideration.

“Is Secretary Yap over and above the Supreme Court? It is really mind-boggling and super puzzling why up to now; the agriculture secretary never said anything about the high court’s direct order for him to relinquish his post. Perhaps he has still some unfinished monkey business in DA. Just to remind the public, Yap steered DA into one of the top grossing corrupt offices in the Macapagal-Arroyo administration,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

“Secretary Yap has been very silent since the SC made its ruling on appointed government officials seeking elective posts in May 2010 elections. It will just take an hour for him to write and tender his resignation,” added Hicap.

Last week, Anakpawis party list and Pamalakaya dared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Agriculture Secretary Yap to account a total of P 7.14 billion in taxpayers’ money, which the Commission on Audit (COA) found missing or diverted to other purposes in 2008.

Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said President Arroyo and Sec. Yap did not disclose the public the report and findings of COA about the disbursement of more than 7 billion pesos, which the state-run auditing body said was lost to “wasteful operation, bungled project implementation or missing and diverted funds.

“Mrs. Arroyo and Mr. Yap concealed the COA report to the public for obvious reason—first rate crimes of corruption were committed involving billions of public funds courtesy of the Office of the President and the Office of the secretary of Agriculture,” she said.

Quoting the COA 2008 report, the Anakpawis official said a total of P 5.19 billion intended for farm-to-market road project were either missing or incomplete. She said the DA only spent P 1.3 billion or 38.99 percent of the total project allotment for 2008. Another big item, the P 1.3 billion fertilizer fund project under the GMA Rice Program was also bungled because local government units refused to participate in the implementation.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list took note COA’s other findings like printing of P 2.2 million fertilizer discount coupons which were rendered useless, the construction of mini-dams in Regions VIII, IX and XI built at a cost of P 7.35 million but were rendered useless due to inferior construction, the construction of 11 Barangay Food Terminals worth P 1.55 million but only one was functional, and the remaining 10 were condemned due to operational deficiencies.

The same COA report described DA as notorious in purchasing equipment which are overpriced, not really needed or cannot be utilized or run by intended beneficiaries, adding that many of the equipment bought are unutilized, undelivered and now rusting in storage.

Pamalakaya said the earth shaking COA report should stop the national government and the agriculture department from buying 300 new ice-making machines to the amount of P 1.5 billion on top of the 98 ice-making machines which DA purchased in 2009 at an overpriced rate of P 4.6 million, 100 percent more of the prevailing industry price.

On January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis led complainants to the plunder case filed against President Arroyo and Agriculture secretary Yap and officials of National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) in connection with the controversial P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines project said the government through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor). #

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Militants reject reconciliation offer from Arroyo

By Kremlin Montenegro

Manila, Philippines-

2010, not 2012 would be the end of the road to this brutal, puppet and criminal regime

Leaders of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday said they will reject any offer of reconciliation from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Vice-Chairperson Salvador France said ridiculed any peace offering the outgoing President would offer to her political foes as she relinquish the presidency on or before June 30.

“No way. Forging a reconciliation pact with the criminal, corrupt and puppet regime of Mrs. Arroyo and her ruling national security gangland in Malacanang is a very, very remote possibility. Rejection becomes President Arroyo, period, period, period,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.

It was in response to Palace statement issued yesterday by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita that President Arroyo is ready to offer the peace laurel to all her political detractors before she steps down from office on June 30.

Ermita said it is better for the President to make friends rather have enemies in reference to the recent reconciliation between President Arroyo and the camp of former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., former strong ally of the President turned ardent critic.

The Arroyo cut ties with De Venecia after his son and namesake linked the First Couple to the scandal-ridden $329-million National Broadband Network with China’s ZTE Corp. in 2008.

De Venecia later ended up losing the House speakership following a coup by members of the majority bloc loyal to the Arroyo administration.

“Mr. Ermita believes the cases involving the Arroyo presidency is just a matter of forgive and forget policy. For his information, truth and justice are non-negotiable things and Mrs. Arroyo and her syndicate have no options but to face and pay their crimes to the people,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said the incoming presidency is politically tasked, morally obliged and lawfully mandated to file criminal and other appropriate charges against President Arroyo and her officials behind the massive corruption in the government, the election fraud in 2004 and the political killings and enforced abduction of leftwing activists and journalists over the last 9 years.

Early this year, the fisherfolk group filed plunder case against President Arroyo in connection with the P 455 million overpriced ice making machine. Yesterday, Pamalakaya accused the Chief Executive of corrupting P 7.14 billion of taxpayers money, which according to the 2008 report of the Commission on Audit(COA)was either wasted, missing or diverted by the Department of Agriculture. #

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GMA, Secretary Yap told: Account P 7.14 B missing funds in 2008

by Pepsi La Loma, Sarsi Pimentel and Lollipop delos Reyes

Manila, Philippines- Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to account a total of P 7.14 billion in taxpayers’ money, which the Commission on Audit (COA) found missing or diverted to other purposes in 2008.

In press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said President Arroyo and Sec. Yap did not disclose to the public the report and findings of COA about the disbursement of more than 7 billion pesos, which the state-run auditing body said was lost to “wasteful operation, bungled project implementation or missing and diverted funds.

“Mrs. Arroyo and Mr. Yap concealed the COA report to the public for obvious reason—first rate crimes of corruption were committed involving billions of public funds courtesy of the Office of the President and the Office of the secretary of Agriculture,” said Hicap.

Quoting the COA 2008 report, the Pamalakaya leader said a total of P 5.19 billion intended for farm-to-market road project were either missing or incomplete. Hicap said the DA only spent P 1.3 billion or 38.99 percent of the total project allotment for 2008. Another big item, the P 1.3 billion fertilizer fund project under the GMA Rice Program was also bungled because local government units refused to participate in the implementation.

“The projects were reportedly incomplete. So the next question is where are the unspent funds? Are they really missing? Were they diverted or juggled to other highly questionable projects? What happen to the farm-to-market road project? Did it become farm to pocket (of GMA allies) road project?” asked Hicap.

Pamalakaya also took note COA’s other findings like printing of P 2.2 million fertilizer discount coupons which were rendered useless, the construction of mini-dams in Regions VIII, IX and XI built at a cost of
P 7.35 million but were rendered useless due to inferior construction, the construction of 11 Barangay Food Terminals worth P 1.55 million but only one was functional, and the remaining 10 were condemned due to operational deficiencies.

The same COA report described DA as notorious in purchasing equipment which are overpriced, not really needed or cannot be utilized or run by intended beneficiaries, adding that many of the equipment bought are unutilized, undelivered and now rusting in storage.
Pamalakaya said the earth shaking COA report should stop the national government and the agriculture department from buying 300 new ice-making machines to the amount of P 1.5 billion on top of the 98 ice-making machines which DA purchased in 2009 at an overpriced rate of P 4.6 million, 100 percent more of the prevailing industry price.

On January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis led complainants to the plunder case filed against President Arroyo and Agriculture secretary Yap and officials of National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) in connection with the controversial P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines project said the government through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor).

Hicap said DA and Nabcor will join the same private supplier- the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) for the importation of additional 300 units of ice-making machines under the P 1.5 billion ice making project.

“P 1.5 billion is P 1.5 billion. That’s a lot of money for electoral campaign. It can be used as a standby fund by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to corner the speakership in the House of Representatives,” he said referring to Arroyo’s alleged plan to seek the speakership post once officially elected as congresswoman of the2nd district of Pampanga.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis leaders led by Rep. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod filed the plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against President Arroyo, Sec. Yap and 13 other public and private officials

Pamalakaya said the agriculture department through Nabcor awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will provide the ice-making unit at P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.

“The same corrupt actors are behind this P 1.5 billion upcoming ice-making machine scandal. We will not allow this icing on the cake ice making machines scam. We will pursue another case in the Office of the Ombudsman. We will write lawmakers to investigate this latest raiding of taxpayers’ money, we will ask the Supreme Court to stop this plunder adventure of Arroyo and Yap and we will aggressively explore the parliament of the street to demand truth, justice and accountability,” the group added.

Senior citizens were waiting for their turn to get their relief goods from Pamalakaya and Anakpawis volunteers. They could have more if not for the government's all-season crime of corruption

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KMP nixes decline in rice output

By the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

Manila, Philippines-The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) raised that government is exaggerating the effects of “El Nino” to justify huge increases in rice imports, estimated to reach 3 million metric tons (MT) exceeding the previous limit of 2.4 million MT. Also, the group said that non-irrigation is a chronic problem in rice cultivation ever since and should not be totally blamed to “El Nino.” The group said that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has only irrigated 1.4 million hectares or 46% of the total irrigable lands of 3.1 million has. in the country.

“Dry season is a classic problem of the peasants during farming. The problem is not totally the climate but majorly the absence of irrigation facilities and support to the farmers. NIA has negligible irrigation projects and some are just on paper, worse, some are being charged even their farms are not irrigated,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General in a press statement.

KMP said that though the country was faced with incessant typhoons, agricultural rice output in 2009 has no dramatic shortfall, 10.56 million MT from 10.93 million MT in 2008, a 362,000 MT fall. It is also higher than 2007 level of 10.56 million MT.

The group also said that 2009 farmgate price of rice based on Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) was pegged at P14.66 per kg, only a P0.74 or 5.32% increase from 2008 price of P13.92 per kg. This figures show that a significant decline did not occur as farmgate price only increased minimally compared to the increase of 2008 of P2.71 per kg or 24.17% from 2007 price of P11.21 per kg. The group said that it is evident that the monopsony of traders on bulk supply of rice depress farmgate prices to squeeze huge profits in selling rice.

“If there was a market-shaking decline, the farmgate prices should have increase appropriately. But government data showed that traders had the power to keep the buying price down, meaning there is no decline in supply,” said Ramos.

“The government is plainly portraying a doomsday picture of our rice supply to sway public opinion towards importation. The fundamentals are that farmers own no lands and traders use their political and economic power to depress farm products. Also, massive imports have empowered traders to further underprice palay from farmers,” Ramos said.

The group also said that the price of local rice should be at the range of P29.32 per kg, in contrast to Vietnam rice of P20.75 to P26.28 per kg ($1=P41.115) based on quotes of Vietnames exporters of $450 to $570 per MT on end of January 2010. While Thailand rice pegs at P21.21 to P27.25 per kg based on Int’l. Rice Research Institute (IRRI) prices of $460 to $591 per MT on December 2009.

“Imported rice already nears the price of local rice even before it reaches the country. When transport and other costs are to be added, it would surely jack up and the landing price would surely be more expensive than locally-produced rice, so definitely, the National Food Authority (NFA) imports rice not because it is cheaper, but to follow the government’s policy of liberalization and commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO),” said Ramos.

Moreover, the group said that import levels are eating up a big chunk of the share in the national consumption, thus, shattering food security and developing food dependency from outside sources. In 2008, import rice compose 16% of the consumed rice, a 26.8% increase from its 2007 share of 12.3%.

“NFA should purchase more of the local as it would help the country’s rice farmers, unlike importation where we already throw our dollars outside the economy, it even competes with the locally-produced. The government should pull back the effects of liberalization and focus on improving agriculture for food production and not for export. Without food security, people would definitely revolt to find one,” he said. #

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Rural groups slam defense chief 10k rubber plantion project

Rural groups slam Teodoro’s disposal of 10K hectares of land for rubber plantation project

Four of the biggest rural based groups in the country– the activist peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pamalakaya, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the Amihan peasant women federation on Wednesday questioned the move of Defense Secretary and Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro to lease 10,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands in Bukidnon province for a rubber plantation project.

The 10,000 hectares set aside for rubber plantation is part of the 42,000 hectare military reservation in the province, The project which will cost P 72-million is in joint partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA), but the defense and the agriculture departments did not divulge the name of the investor on the rubber plantation project.

Apart from rubber, the cash crops like corn and coffee are also considered to be planted in the 10,000 hectare plantation.

“The project is highly irregular, patently illegal and grossly immoral. The AFP has no right to engage in the selling and disposal of prime agricultural lands. The military reservation should have been distributed to landless farmers and jobless farmworkers, but the AFP is keeping it as their own private property exactly similar to what warlords and big landlords are doing in Mindanao,” the groups said in a joint statement.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos reminded Secretary Teodoro that the prime agricultural lands do not belong the military but to the Filipino farmers and the general public, and he has no right to act like big landlord or real estate operator.

Ramos also lambasted the silence of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Nasser Pangandaman on the AFP-DA 10,000 hectare rubber plantation deal.

“It seems to us this DND-DA project has the seal of approval of the Office of the President and the office of Mr. Pangandaman. This transaction is treated like a best kept secret among officials of the AFP, the agriculture department and the of course, the office of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the agrarian reform department,” he said.

For his part, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap assailed Secretary Teodoro for endorsing the anomalous rubber plantation project, adding that he and and agriculture secretary Arthur Yap acted as brokers of the highly anomalous landgrabbing deal.

“We want honest-to-goodness explanations from Teodoro and Yap. They cannot get away with this latest agrarian crime. They must be held accountable for this anti-farmer deal,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said the sell out of 10,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands inside the military reservation in Bukidnon is a preview of what a Teodoro presidency has to offer. “We will continue to lose this country to all time landgrabbers, real estate speculators and foreign and domestic landed monopolies,” Hicap said.

Representatives of DA and AFP are set to sign a memorandum of agreement in mid-September upon completion of project documents such as project proposal and area development plan. The project is envisioned to provide livelihood to people residing close or within the military reservation.

The project according to AFP will showcase production technology for rubber and other agricultural products. The military said the project will also serve as template for the development of other military reservations such as Tumandok military reservation in Panay Island and the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

The project will tap the services of engineering brigade of the AFP based in Bukidnon to help building access roads to the plantation and put up facilities such as irrigations systems. Secretary Teodoro is optimistic the project would promote the government’s peace and development programs in Bukidnon and other parts of Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the spokespersons of Amihan peasant women federation and UMA said Congress should investigate this emerging trend in t he agrarian homefront, where the military is dispatching thousands of hectares of lands inside military reservations for business purposes.

Amihan spokesperson Zen Soriano and UMA media officer Jay Calaguing in a joint statement said lawmakers should look into the alleged real estate activities of Secretary Teodoro and other military officials encouraging the disposal of public lands inside military reservations to big agri-business corporations and other big ticket ventures.

“The auctioning of prime agricultural lands inside military reservations for business adventures negate the true essence of genuine agrarian reform and social justice in the country. This practice should be stopped and let farmers acquire these lands inside military reservations under a free land distribution scheme,” they said. #

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Palace P 5.3 B rural roads project, a farm to pocket roads project,

Palace P 5.3 B rural roads project, a farm to pocket roads project,
says Pamalakaya

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday said the P 5.3 billion rural roads project of the Macapagal-Arroyo government is more of a farm-to-pocket roads project, rather than a genuine development blue print to arrest the current economic and financial crisis.

“The government will exploit the most-abused financial escapade “farm-to-market roads project” to pursue its farm-to-pocket roads project at the expense of the Filipino taxpaying public,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“The people of this country are suffering from extreme economic and political crisis. But this government solution to the crisis is to build roads identical to President Diosdado Macapagal-Boulevard to ensure fat kickbacks. The regime of greed must be buried six feet under,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Hicap said high crime of corruption is the real agenda of Malacañang in pursuing the 2,000 kilometers of farm-to-market roads nationwide. “What roads will the government build this time? Roads to perdition? Roads to destruction? Or roads to hell? Or all of the above?” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the projects, which will start this week, would benefit 212,000 farmers in food-producing and hunger-prone areas, and would create 53,000 new jobs this year.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Cabinet coordinator for the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) in Northern Luzon and Bohol said more than half of the total length of the farm-to-market-roads would be built in Central Philippines and the Mindanao super region where major food production sites are located.

In a statement sent to media, Secretary Yap said the national government under CLEEP will build 567.6 kilometers of roads will be built in Central Philippines and are expected to benefit 56,760 workers and create 14,190 new jobs, while 536.94 kilometers of roads in Mindanao will benefit 53,694 hectares of farmers and will employ 13,294 workers.

The North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle, where Secretary Yap was designated by the President as its development coordinator will have 420.8 kilometers of farm-to-market roads which the DA said will benefit 42,080 farmers and will require 10,520 jobs, while 366.8 kilometers of farm-to-market roads will be constructed in the Metro Manila Urban Railway, which include Central Luzon to help 36,680 farmers and create 9,170 jobs.

Yap said another 230.8 kilometers of farm-to-market roads which will benefit 23,080 farmers and will provide 5,770 fresh jobs will be constructed in other priority areas identified by the national government.

But Pamalakaya said the P 53.B rural roads project of Malacañang wants to accomplish several objectives like corruption for pro-Arroyo officials in different branches of government and local government units, and at the same time, an early electoral campaign for Palace favored bets in 2010 national and local elections, that’s why the projects are placed in vote-rich regions and provinces all over the country. #

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Militants pooh-pooh Agriculture Secretary Yap’s 130,000 jobs target vs. crisis

Militants pooh-pooh Agriculture Secretary Yap’s 130,000 jobs target vs. crisis

The ambitious 130,000 job creation project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to cushion the impact of current global economic and financial crisis failed to impress the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)—-an ardent critic of the President and agriculture secretary Arthur Yap.

“This pump-priming escapade will only last for six months. After six months, what’s next? People don’t live and work for six months, they live and work for job security, decent and high paying jobs. Please allow us to tell Secretary Yap and her boss in Malacañang they are not really doing substantial and meaningful here,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Hicap clarified that while they are demanding the government to actively engage in job creation program, the quality of jobs his group is demanding is stable, long-term and productive that will allow urban and rural workers to reap the gains of their hard labor.

The Pamalakaya leader said the pump-priming projects envisioned by Malacañang and the agriculture department were not really meant to create jobs. On the contrary, the Hicap said, the projects were meant to bail out construction firms close to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other Palace officials and allow them to get the lion’s shares of the national budget allocated for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the agriculture department.

“Malacañang and Secretary Yap will move heaven and earth to pursue these corruption-ridden pump-priming projects to address Palace top concerns like bailouts for profit-starved foreign corporations, crony firms and all-time corrupt allies. They are exploiting the extreme crisis to advance their own narrow and sinister agenda,” added Hicap.

Secretary Yap last week announced that the DA will kick off with the rehabilitation and restoration of irrigation systems all over the country covering 148,040 hectares, and such undertaking is expected to employ some 131,679 jobs at least for six months or roughly 13.7 percent of the one million jobs targeted by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration this year.

Aside from rehabilitation of irrigation systems, the DA will also engage in construction of flatbed dryers, irrigation projects and agro-forestry in Cagayan Valley, production of organic fertilizers and vegetable planting programs in the Cordillera Administrative Region, livestock production and irrigation construction in Central Luzon.

The DA also planned this year the setting up of more Tindahan Natin branches in Metro Manila, irrigation projects in Bicol, swine livelihood, Bantay Dagat program in Central Visayas, construction of roads and flatbed dryers and employment of Bantay Dagat in Eastern Visayas.

The agriculture department will also promote livestock production, coconut-corn intercropping and agro-forestry in Zamboanga Peninsula, irrigation and repair and production of organic fertilizer in Northern Mindanao, agribusiness, irrigation projects and fisherfolk livelihood program in the Davao region, marine resource management in South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and General Santos, and fisherfolk livelihood programs for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Earlier, Pamalakaya pressed the demand for a P 32- billion production subsidies for small fishermen to cushion the impact of global economic crisis. The group suggested a minimum P 4,500 oil subsidy for all small fishermen operating small fishing boats and P 2,000 for non-motorized small fishing boat owners across-the-country.

The P 4,500 monthly subsidy constitutes about 50 percent of the monthly expenses spent by marginalized fishermen owning a small fishing boat in their daily fish capture. Hicap said the proposed measure if approved will benefit 313,985 small fishing boat operators and will cost the government a monthly production subsidy of P 1.4 billion per month or P 16 billion per year.

Based on Pamalakaya’s proposal for production subsidy, for non-motorized fishing boats operators, the government will spend monthly subsidy of P1.3 billion or roughly P 15.67 billion per year. All in all, the total subsidy for a little over small fishermen will cost he government some P 32 billion in total production subsidies annually.

The Pamalakaya leader said 100 percent of the production subsidy for fisherfolk operators of small fishing boats will go to oil, while around 50 percent of the proposed subsidy for owners of non-motorized fishing boats will go to gas subsidy, while the rest will go to other production and food needs of small fishermen.

Pamalakaya said the production subsidies for small fishermen could be addressed by immediately and indefinitely suspending the annual payments of foreign and domestic debts that eats up more than one-third of the annual national budget.

“The proposed fishery production subsidy program is about 10 percent of the national government’s allotment to debt servicing. It would be better if we suspend if not totally stop paying these fraudulent loans acquired and accumulated by the previous and present administrations for their own corruption purposes,” he added.

Pamalakaya said the national government should also oblige commercial and aquaculture operators to give their fish workers the mandated minimum wage and certify as urgent the pending bill in both houses of Congress granting private workers a P 125 across the board, across the country wage increase.

Pamalakaya said the government should scrap the 12 percent expanded Value Added Tax on all petroleum products, consumer good, utilities and services to improve the purchasing power of the poor workers, farmers and fisherfolk.

“These are doable items and sound economic measures to ease the burden and cushion the impact of global economic crisis. What this government need is a strong political will. But the trouble is the will of this government is only meant for big time ticket for corruption and unstoppable subservience to transnational interest and class interest of the elite,” added Pamalakaya. #

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