Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Congressman should publish the projects funded by their pork barrel allocations

Congressman should publish the projects funded by their pork barrel allocations.

 This was the challenge aired by Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera to Boholano solons.

 "They should do this in the spirit of transparency," the vice-governor said.

 Every congressman is entitled to pork barrel allocation of P70 million annually.

 Herrera said that the people deserve to know how the solons distribute their allocations in their district.

 "There are many towns who felt left out in the sharing of allocations so they are now demanding to know how their congressmen spend their pork barrel," he added.

 The vice-governor said that congressmen have a responsibility to make a report even if the people do not ask for it.

 He added that this is important if they want to enjoy the trust and confidence of the people.

 "The best way to do this is to make public the projects that benefited from their pork barrel," he added.

 Herrera pointed out that a congressman who has served for three terms had a total of P630-M in his pork barrel allocation.

 If there are 14 towns in a district and the congressman decides to distribute his pork barrel equally, it will mean that every town will receive a share of P5-M.

 At the end of his three terms, a town should receive at least P45-M from its congressman.

 Herrera said that while there are towns which receive more than P5-M in one year, there are also others which received less than P1-M every year.

 The vice-governor pointed out that as taxpayers, the people deserve to know where and how the pork barrel funds are spent.

 "They have a right to know what are these projects, where they are located and how the people have benefited from them," he added.

 Herrera said that the people will surely appreciate it if they see that the projects serve the interest of the people.

 "Only those who have something to hide will not make a formal report to the people," he added.

 The vice-governor said that it is not the discretion of the congressman to release the list of projects but rather their responsibility and duty.

 He pointed out that many people are slowly losing faith in their public officials because of a lack of transparency.

 "If they refuse to heed the people's clamor to come out with an official list of their projects, they cannot prevent people from suspecting that there is something rotten going on," Herrera warned. - Sunday Post

Sustainable Markets for Philippine Farm

      In line with the government's long-term goal to ensure food security and raise farmers' income in the countryside, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is calling on food manufacturers to help build ready and sustainable markets for the country's farm and fishery produce.

      This will be through contract growing and other marketing arrangements with small producers.

       According to DA, this will make agriculture a more profitable investment for its small producers, as the department has been stepping up its efforts to bring farm produce directly to urban markets for better prices and identifying the appropriate hardware and infrastructure investments needed to modernize crop production.

      One key component of this initiative is the establishment of barangay bagsakan (village drop-off centers) and bagsakan centers around Metro Manila and in the regions.

      In Bohol, DA is set to put up bagsakan centers in the municipalities of Anda, Balilihan, Loboc, Corella and Sevilla

      Besides increasing production, small farmers and fisherfolk should also be provided assistance in opening markets for their produce and facilities to cut back their post-harvest losses.

      Under this concept, market-matching with buyers are being done for groups of crop growers or fisherfolk who are known for or are experts at producing specific commodities.

      The DA, through Secretary Arthur Yap, has always advocated the new thinking that agriculture is also a business endeavor. (DA/tots)