KABANKALAN CITY -- Reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar Friday urged the graduates of the Central Philippines State University (CPSU) to start putting up small businesses and experience how to be employers rather than employees.
Big businesses started as small businesses and they should not be ashamed of the micro and small enterprises as 95 percent of all the businesses in the Philippines provide 65 percent of the jobs in the country.
Villar was instrumental in the passage the Free Education Act, which is now a law.
But the first measure that she passed as a senator was the Sugar Industry Development Act (Sida), which provides that five percent of the P2-billion maiden fund, or P100 million a year, should be allocated as Scholarship for Children of the Sugar Farmers.
There are 120 Sida-funded scholars in Negros Occidental who receive P10,000 a month from the government through the Sida law.
Villar was among the eight senatorial bets who were endorsed by Tatak Kalamay, a movement formed by sugar industry stakeholders in the province.
“They chose to support us because on my part, I worked for the passage of the Sida law. But there is a move now to liberalize the importation of sugar,” she said.
Villar said that part of her plans is to push for the establishment of farm schools in the Philippines. Victorias City is one of the recipients of the sugar school.
“I want a farm school in every town in the Philippines to teach our farmers how to do it well. There will be classes on mechanization, technology, financial literacy and how to access cheap credit. But in places that have a specialized crop, they should have their own farm school. Negros Occidental produces 65 percent of all the sugar produced in the Philippines. So it is natural that you will have your farm or sugar school here,” she said.
The proposed sugar school is eyed to be located in Victorias City, the home of Victorias Milling Company.
Villar also met with the block farmers in the province.
Sida law allotted 15 percent of the P2-billion budget in block farming, which is around P300 million a year.
But due to underspending, the Sida budget was cut to P500 million in 2019.
Villar said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) saw that that the Sida budget was not spent, so the fund was automatically cut off the following year.
“If DBM sees it, it will think that they don’t need the money because the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) did not spend it all. SRA should take responsibility for the underspending,” she said.
But DBM will give the budget back should SRA prove that it can spend the entire budget.