MANILA - Sen. Cynthia Villar on Monday chided the Department of Agriculture for failing to provide a list of farmers who received free hybrid seeds from the government, saying there may be irregularities in the system due to the agency's lack of transparency.
Villar - who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture - said she has been requesting for the list of beneficiaries to avoid duplications in several aid programs for farmers.
"Ayaw niyo ibinibigay sa amin ang listahan... Ang tagal-tagal ko nang hinihingi... Vague na vague kayo," Villar said during the DA's budget hearing in the Senate.
(You do not want to give us the list... I have been asking for it for so long... You're just giving me vague answers.)
"Forgive me pero baka kaya ayaw ninyo magbigay ng report ay dahil hindi kayo nagdi-distribute ng hybrid seeds," she said.
(Forgive me, but maybe you don't want to submit the report because you are not distributing hybrid seeds.)
The DA has been giving hybrid seeds to 16 rice-producing regions under its P8.5-billion Rice Resiliency Project (RRP), while a portion of the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) is allotted for the distribution of inbred seeds to rice farmers.
The DA has distributed hybrid seeds to 497 areas, DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan told Villar.
But the senator noted that without the list of beneficiaries, they would not know which areas have received the seeds or need more aid from the government.
"Wag niyo ko ganituhin na, 'Ganito binigay.' Dapat kanino ibinigay?" Villar said.
(Don't tell me that, 'We are giving this much.' Tell me who you are giving it to.)
"Nag-ooverlap tayo e. Maski sa ibang department, maliwanag tayo na wag tayo mag-ooverlap," she said.
(We are overlapping. Even in other departments, it is clear that we should not overlap.)
Cayanan apologized for the delayed submission of the beneficiaries' list, and committed to forward the document to Villar's office soon.