Ilocos Norte brgy captains defend RA 7171 vehicles' aid to farmers

May 16, 2017 ...

Recipients of pickup-type multipurpose vehicles funded by Ilocos Norte's share of the Tobacco Excise Tax or Republic Act (RA) 7171 shared how the said equipment has contributed much to farmer productivity and agricultural development as a whole in their barangays.

Purchase of the said equipment became a topic of investigation by the House of Representatives when Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo "Rudy" C. Fariñas initiated a probe on the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) earlier this month.

Fariñas accused the Capitol of misusing P66.5 million in tobacco funds, reasoning that the purchased equipment has not been beneficial for farmers.

In contrary, according to Barangay Captain Angelo Bayudan of Ver, Dingras, "Hindi na dapat iniimbestiga ito 'pagkat nagagamit naman namin ito sa bukid, sa pagbubuhat ng mga produkto at sa paghahatid sa palengke. Parang farm equipment na rin ito."

"Hindi ko naman masasabing nasayang ang pondo, 'pagkat nagagamit naman namin sa pagsasaka," he added, also mentioning Governor Marcos' provision of cement for constructing a farm-to-market road from Brgy. Ver.

Likewise, Nestor del Castillo, Punong Barangay of Brgy. Sta. Ana, Solsona, shared that "sa ngayon, abala kaming nagbibilad ng mga inani naming mais, at sa katunayan ay malaking tulong ang sasakyang ito."

Having the vehicle is a relief to Del Castillo's barangay, as they no longer have to worry about transporting their harvest in case of rain or when time comes to sell their produce on the market.

He also mentioned an ongoing bamboo-planting project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), "dito namin inilalagay ang mga bamboo shoot na maitatanim."

On alleged misuse of funds, Bayudan also said, "Nagagamit naman namin ito sa bukid, sa pagbubuhat ng mga produkto at sa paghahatid sa palengke."

Angel Bryan Arellano, chairman of Brgy. Elizabeth, Dingras, shared, "Nakikita naman na napunta ito sa mabuting proyekto at nakakatulong ito sa mga taong bayan."

Mr. Michael Velasco, manager of the Bacarra Zanjera Irrigators, Inc., further pointed out that the multicabs have been very useful in delivering produce to retailers.

"Kung kami ang concerned in regards sa multicab na binigay nila, malaki ang naitulong nito sa mga magsasaka 'pagkat napadali ang pagbebenta ng kanilang ani."

by Mizpah Grace Castro



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