Senators concerned about huge NFA debt

by Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2012 04:00 PM | Updated as of Oct 17 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Senators on Tuesday expressed concern over the huge debt of the National Food Authority (NFA), most of which were incurred during the final months of the Arroyo administration.

Senate finance committee chair Franklin Drilon told reporters after a hearing on the proposed 2013 budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed the NFA's total liability went up to P176.8 billion from January to June 2010.

He noted that this was a significant increase from just P147.4 billion at the end of 2009.

"Noong panahon ng eleksyon, lumobo ang utang ng NFA sa 6 na buwan sa P29 billion," Drilon said.
"This is a burden that this administration had to carry, and the secretary (of DA) has assured us that this will be continuously addressed. The borrowing guarantee for 2013 is indicated at P21.6 billion."

Senate agriculture committee chairman Francis Pangilinan said he will evaluate the matter carefully.
He suspects that it is part of the previous administration's pattern of making "midnight" deals.

"We will have to dig deeper and see if there is basis to proceed to a Senate investigation," Pangilinan said.