Monday, April 14, 2008


A journalist recently asked this question: "Considering what had happened to the P783 million fertilizer fund managed by Joc-Joc Bolante, what can be done to assure that the P500 million for fertilizers just announced by Sec. Arthur Yap from the Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Fund reaches the farmers?" Well, in Joc-Joc's time, the fund was released to congressmen and governors, including city districts that had absolutely no need for agriculture fertilizers. Perhaps it would be wiser if the fund be given directly to farmers' cooperatives and associations instead of giving them to the usual greedy congressmen and governors. If Secretary Arthur Yap is really serious in making sure that the fund reaches our farmers, then he should at once institute correct measures. As it is, seventy-six NFA retailers were suspended in the Bicol region while scores of retailers were found to have been diverting rice from Isabela to Metro Manila to Cotabato. Proof that NFA operations are tainted with crooked deals, run by a syndicate close to Malacanang from the importation, transport, palay-buying to retail. What is Secretary Yap doing about this as chair of the NFA board? And, remember the 'Gloria Rice' of 2004? What has become of it now it? Was it just a campaign propaganda, or have the many cooks in Malacanang cooked it to porridge to be called 'Arroyo's Caldo'?

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