P750-M sugar fund ready for 2018

Senator Cynthia Villar said over the weekend that the P750-million fund for the sugar industry will be ready for 2018.

Villar, who was one of the special guests during the 38th MassKara Festival street and arena dance competition Saturday, October 21, pointed out that the appropriation will be used for the farm-to-mill road fund under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (Sida).

The total budget approved for the Sida was P2 billion every year, but this year, only P1 billion was spent.

The P2 billion should be utilized at all costs, said Villar, who chairs the Senate committee on agriculture and food.

Out of the P750 million budget for 2018 is P250 million for agrarian reform beneficiaries, the senator added.

A total of P600 million in funds from Land Bank of Philippines would be available for loans to the sugar farmers and planters.

Villar said the Sugar Regulatory Administration which handles the sugar fund has been saying to have enough funds for the scholarship program.

Aside from the budget, the Department of Agriculture and the local government units will also have shared facilities for the sugarcane farmers.

Villar believed that despite the push for federalism of the Duterte government, the 2019 local and national elections would push through.

“I have not yet read the conditions under federalism so I cannot yet comment on it but I don't think federalism will result to having no elections. It’s not good for us to postpone national elections unlike the barangay elections. We will read and analyze first what is stated in the proposals for federalism,” she added.
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