THE postponement of barangay elections next year will save rice farmers.
This is because the funds that are supposed to be used for the elections will be realigned to increase the procurement power of the National Food Authority (NFA).
In an interview, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said that they will propose the realignment of the P5 billion budget of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to the NFA for buying unmilled rice (palay) from the local farmers.
From this statement, Cayetano is already hinting that Congress will reset the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled on May 2020.
“Ang Barangay elections hindi tutuloy, that is more than P5 billion. The other source is the right of way funds na hindi naman magagamit lahat,” Cayetano said when asked about the source of funds for palay procurement.
The NFA was allotted at least P7 billion for palay procurement but the House of Representatives realized it is not enough and proposed to make it at least P10 billion.’
“Let me assure you hindi namin babawasan ang budget ng mga department. Titignan namin kung saan yung taba, pero kung musce yan hindi namin yan gagalawin,” he added.
The local farmers are suffering from the entry of cheaper imported rice allowed under Rice Tarrification Law.
The House leaders also wanted adjustments in the budget for education, health and even electrification.
“Education and health need much more fund and fine-tuning of their programs. Electrifcation, ilang taon na natin naririning yung 100 percent na electrification ng buong Pilipinas. Ilang taon na rin tayong nakukuryente. So please submit your amendments regarding 100 percent electrification of our country,” he added.
The House leaders are waiting for institutional amendments to be proposed by some members of the House.
A small group will be formed whose main task is to accept and study changes in the P4.1 trillion budget for 2020.
The budget measure was approved on third reading last week after President Rodrigo Duterte certified it as urgent.