DA quizzed on P344-million 'farm-to-market roads' in Metro Manila

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2021 10:00 PM

MANILA - A lawmaker flagged the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday for having some P344 million in farm-to-market road funds allocated for the highly urbanized Metro Manila.

DA officials faced the House Appropriations Committee to seek congressional authorization for its P91 billion budget for next year.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate inquired regarding around P344 million farm-to-market roads in the national capital region, which he said would be released to the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH).

But Agriculture Secretary William Dar denied this, assuring Zarate they would investigate the matter.

“We will look into this pero ganito po ang arrangement namin with DPWH of course budgeted sa amin, then we agree every year na sila mag i-implement," Dar explained.

Other lawmakers, meanwhile, sought clarity on who would build the farm-to-market roads now that local government units would get more funds under a recent Supreme Court ruling.

"Are we sure that the LGU will really fund the concreting of farm-to-market roads?” Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Luis Lloren Cuaresma asked.

Dar could not answer with certainty.

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?" said Agabas.

Dar, however, said it would be better that the the matter be legislated. ”

"In the long run it will be a better approach heto suggestion lang po ng DA so that we can project the farm-to-market roads requirements for agricultural development of the countryside mas maganda na isabatas na lang iyung investments sa farm to market road para hindi na mapaglalaruan yung budget," he said. 

“That's the suggestion coming from the DA sustained funding of farm-to-market roads that would enhance countryside development particularly ensuring food security,” Dar added.

-- RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News