DBM releases P3.4 B for National Rice Program

IN line with President Benigno S. Aquino III’s social contract commitment to reduce poverty and ensure rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth, especially for those living in the countryside, the Department of Budget and Management announced recently that it has released P3.430-billion for the National Rice Program of the Department of Agriculture.

In a statement, DBM Secretary Florencio Abad said the release would help farmers increase their harvest yields towards achieving rice self-sufficiency by 2013.  “The DA’s National Rice Program highlights the Aquino Administration’s commitment to rice
self sufficiency by 2013. Through this program, the government makes sure that facilities,  technologies and other interventions are in place to help us achieve this target,” he said.

Under the National Rice Program, farmers are provided with quality seeds, irrigation, credit  and marketing assistance to improve farm productivity and profitability. The total budget for  the National Rice Program for 2011 is P5.217 billion.

Moving a step closer to rice self sufficiency, the DA expects to produce 17.45 million metric  tons (MT) of palay this year; and plans to increase that by 10 percent to 19.2 million MT in  2012; and by another 10 percent to 21.11 million MT in 2013 to achieve rice self sufficiency.

In a technical budget hearing conducted by the DBM, Alcala said that DA aims for 91.9  percent rice self-sufficiency by 2012 from 84.4 percent this year, and to attain this, proposed  increases in its 2012 budget for its banner program for rice.

Abad meanwhile emphasized the need for DA to strengthen its capability and refocus its
investments towards achieving its Philippine Food Staple Self-Sufficiency Roadmap in line
with achieving 100-percent rice self-sufficiency. (PCOO)

Aquino abolishes PASG, PAGC

Manila, Philippines – As Aquino has promised, President Benigno Aquino III has abolished redundant and underperforming agencies such as the Presidential Anti Graft Commission (PAGC) and the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG), Aquino has however extended the existence of problematic government-owned and controlled corporations.

Secretary Ricky Carandang quoted Budget Secretary Florencio Abad that the PASG and PAGC will not have any budget for the next year. Carandang added that in paper the PASG and PAGC may be existent, however, there will be no more budget allocations for them.

Curbing smuggling is the job of the Bureau of Customs while the Office of the Ombudsman handles graft cases involving government officials and personnel.

Regarding the GOCC’s, even those whose abnormalities have been spotted have been included in the proposed P1.645 trillion national budget for next year. This proposal has already been submitted to the Congress for hearing. Although extensions have been given to the “in the red” GOCC’s, their allocations have been cut to subsistence levels. A briefing paper from the DBM shows that the government is no longer interested in supporting the programs of GOCCs like the NFA, LRTA, MRTC and other GOCC’s.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Aquino administration is determined to cut excess fat, specifically the outlandish bonuses, perks and privileges of GOCC executives — and put a uniform basis on their salaries and other emoluments.