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SINAG’S APPEAL TO PANGILINAN

Prepare for AEC, unmask perpetrators of agri scams

/ 04:15 PM May 06, 2014

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MANILA, Philippines—The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) on Tuesday welcomed the appointment of former senator Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan to the Aquino Cabinet as presidential assistant on food security and agriculture modernization.

“Sinag members are hopeful that Sec. Pangilinan would be a positive addition to the reform efforts and local food self-sufficiency programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA); the anti-smuggling drive of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and; to the pro-Filipino agriculture legislative agenda of the Senate Agriculture Committee,” the group said in a statement.

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“Specific to the National Food Authority (NFA) – which will now be under his helm – we urge Secretary Pangilinan to strengthen current efforts to support and promote the local rice industry and only import rice as a last resort,” said Rosendo So, Sinag Chair.

“We also hope that he will be an additional voice to the legal mandate of the NFA and official position of the Solicitor General of the “no permit, no rice import” policy,” added Ofociano Manalo, a rice farmer and Sinag member.

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He stressed that even at the height of last month’s harvest season, local rice farmers are still able to sell palay (unmilled rice) at P22.50 to P24.00 per kilo.  “At the height of rice smuggling, we are only able to sell at P17-18.00 per kilo,” Manalo added.

According to Sinag, millions of rice farmers continue to enjoy unprecedented farmgate price of palay for two cropping seasons now and the local rice industry is reaping the benefits of the joint efforts of the DA, BOC and Senate Agriculture Committee in curbing rice smuggling and in supporting local rice production.

“As we prepare for the Asean Economic Community (AEC) next year, Sinag members are hopeful that Sec. Pangilinan’s appointment will inject a renewed sense of urgency to government’s efforts to help prepare the agriculture sector for this integration,” So said.

“As a former member of the Upper Chamber, we also hope that Secretary Pangilinan will help in efforts to unmask the perpetrators of the multi-billion peso PDAF, Fertilizer Fund and ACEF scams who shamelessly plundered public funds intended to help the agriculture sector prepare for the AEC,” So stressed.

Sinag said the ACEF was intended to assist the local agriculture prepare for the supposed benefits of trade liberalization. But because of how the funds were plundered, the sector got nothing to make itself globally competitive.

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TAGS: Agriculture, Business, food czar, Francisco ‘‘kiko’’ Pangilinan, samahang industriya ng agrikultura, SINAG
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