Foreign funds for ARC, ARISP did not benefit farmers, says KMP
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today blamed President Aquino for what it described as “brazen corruption” in the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) headed by Secretaries Proceso Alcala and Virgilio Delos Reyes, consecutively, saying “the landlord President is a coddler of thieves” in the twin rural sector agencies.
The peasant group issued the statement after the Commission on Audit’s (COA) 2013 report showed that the DAR has failed to fully implement two major development projects worth P12.8 billion in farming communities despite the release of funds for the programs. This followed yesterday’s news on the COA’s 2013 report on the DA showing that more than P14.4 billion of agricultural funds were also squandered.
“Aquino is mainly liable in the brazen corruption in the DA and DAR. Instead of decisively sacking Alcala and Delos Reyes who like him are facing plunder cases, Aquino continue to protect and pamper his political lieutenants in this twin rural sector agencies,” says KMP chair Rafael Mariano.
Mariano said that the P12 billion fund mess at the DAR further proves that Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is “a sham” and “a cash cow” of big landlords and agri-businesses.
In its 2013 report, the COA said the DAR did not meet its goal to help alleviate poverty incidence in agrarian reform communities because of the delays in the completion of Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project Phase III (Arisp III) and the Agrarian Reform Community Project Phase II (ARCP).
“We agree with the COA that the DAR did not help alleviate poverty in ARC’s because the funds did not benefit farmers in these areas. Both the ARC project and the ARISP are designed for corruption,” the KMP leader said adding, “corruption is a built-in mechanism in the bogus CARP and its ARCs.”
“Under the guise of support services for poor farmers, foreign funding are channelled to ARCs. But in reality, ARC funds are subsidies given by the haciendero President to big agribusiness plantations and his fellow landlords,” he said adding: “in Central Mindanao, for instance, the European Union is providing millions of funds to develop 13 rubber plantations covering 548 hectares.”
Mariano said “the ARC project is mainly designed as a supposed joint venture scheme between so-called farmer beneficiaries and big agribusinesses, local or foreign. In practice, ARCs provided big agribusinesses control over the lands and the whole process of agricultural production.”
“Foreign funds channelled to ARCs are also favorite funding sources of Aquino-allied NGOs and Napoles-like NGOs,” Mariano added.
“This is the same with the ARISP which is also a subsidy for agribusinesses and a cash cow of corrupt bureaucrats,” the KMP said citing “ARISP Phase II that was also funded by JBIC for P7.3 billion allegedly benefited 150 ARCs in 55 provinces.”
“However, there are ARCs that were subjected to exemption and land-use conversion by the DAR. At the end of the day, those who benefited from the roads and irrigation built under ARISP II are real estate developers and big landlords,” Mariano said.
“The brazen corruption and plunder of billions of pesos of agriculture and agrarian reform bolsters the Filipino peasantry’s resolve to oust Aquino from power. The haciendero president and his gang of thieves in the agriculture and agrarian reform agencies will surely have a day in jail for plundering peasants funds,” the KMP warned. #