HEADLINE
Stop corruption in agriculture


Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol has called on thousands of officers and personnel of the agriculture department to stop corruption in all levels because this has pulled down the overall performance of this department which is supposed to serve the baseline of the Philippine economy.

Despite its being agriculture- based, the country has lagged behind in agriculture because most people in the department are pushing different kinds of buttons although with good intentions, they lack coordination and consistency, and most of all integrity.

Earlier, Pinol was

guest at the State of the Nature conference at Silliman University. He also distributed millions worth of farm machineries.

Corruption in the Department of Agriculture should be stopped, according to DA Sec. Emmanuel Piñol while urging the people especially supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte to report any incident of corruption, how small it is in their respective localities so it can be acted upon with dispatch.

Take the case of reforestation, most of the DA personnel have not analyzed the right kind of soil for the right kind of tree. That is why there is so much casualty despite millions of pesos spent in reforestation.

In fishing, the scarcity of fish in breeding places is occurring because the Filipino fishermen continue to fish even during mating season so that millions of small frys are being killed by indiscriminate fishing.

Pinol called for a three-month closed-fishing season which means that there will be ban on fishing during mating season in specific areas of Philippine seas so that the fish can propagate themselves and not diminish the supply.

Poor families who want to earn money will be paid P2 per tree for guarding the trees in the reforested areas . Each family can take care and protect like five hectares of tree land thus earn money and accomplish the goal of reforestation.

Canlaon’s 100,000 hectres of forestland is now down to 20,000 hectares. All are denude thru slash and burn methods. Small trees are cut by poor people in order to be used as fire wood. They even sell these fire wood in what could become giant tree forests, Piñol said.

The badjaos can help protect and clean the seas and lakes of debris while they are being paid by the government. In this manner, sea pollution will be avoided if not eliminated.

GUESSING GAME

The agriculture secretary speaking in fluent Cebuano and English being a former Cotabato broadcaster, exhorted agiculture personnel to be honest in their reportage of facts and figures so that the department can plot strategies properly.

He told them to stop the guessing game as to which seed to plant in which kind of soil. Plus the corruption, the infusion of wrong inputs, will result in chaotic implementation of what could have been a sound advocacy.

The DA secretary also announced that by 2017, use of irrigation all over the country is for free, in stressing the commitment of the President.

Piñol is asking for a budget of P63 billion from the President over the next three years for the rice program of the country for the distribution of hybrid seedlings to farmers including fertilizers. When approved, Piñol assures the President the supply of the seedlings will not just come from farms nearby which was the practice before.

A small group discussion between the DA secretary, Gov. Degamo, mayors, agriculturists, farmers and fisherfolks will be scheduled to get their sentiments on specific issues.

He called on governors and mayors to request funding for farm-tomarket roads as much as they can because government has the money. Piñol disclosed he had just signed a 450- million U.S. dollar funding from the Philipine Rural Development Plan with the World Bank to comply all requirements to build farm-to-market roads all over the country, provided such infrastructure will lead to the production area of farmers, not just as a barangay road.

The DA secretary has also announced to farmers in Negros Oriental that President Duterte wanted all the farmers to be insured with the Philippine Insurance Corporation (PCIC). In fact, the President wanted them to already have IDs before his term ends, Piñol disclosed. If government employees have GSIS, private employees have SSS, farmers and fisherfolks have “tiistiis,” that is why Duterte would like to extend to them a pension fund to cover for their life and accident insurance.


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