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DA’s P344M farm-to-market roads probed

Republika

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate called out the Department of Agriculture (DA) for allocating P344 million for farm-to-market roads. Officials from DA sought congressional authorization from the House Appropriations Committee for their P91 billion 2022 budget. Zarate questioned the figure that was to be released to the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH).


Agriculture Secretary William Dar assured Zarate it would be looked into. “We will look into this but this is our arrangement with DPWH of course budgeted for us, then we agree every year that they will implement.”
Given a recent Supreme Court ruling that gives local government units more funding, lawmakers sought to find out who would be building said roads.


“Are we sure that the LGU will really fund the concreting of farm-to-market roads?” Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Luis Lloren Cuaresma asked. Dar was unable to give a concrete answer.


Pangasinan 6th District Rep. Tyrone Agabas asked if lawmakers could have a say in the construction of these roads. “Are we still allowed to identify, recommend farm-to-market roads to the DA in so far as our respective congressional districts are concerned?”


“In the long run it will be a better approach; here is just a suggestion from the DA, so that we can project the farm-to-market roads requirements,” Dar replied, “for agricultural development of the countryside. It is better to just legislate those investments in the farm to market road for the budget can no longer be played with.”


He further explained that the DA’s suggestion “would enhance countryside development particularly ensuring food security.”


The farm-to-market roads in question are meant to be within the “concrete jungle” and very urban setting of Metropolitan Manila.


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