Additional DA funding sought

Additional DA funding sought

A neophyte lawmaker has appealed to the House of Representatives to allocate an additional P521 million for the Department of Agriculture aside from the its P163.75 billion proposed budget for next year.

A known advocate of agriculture in the lower chamber, Representative Wilbert Lee, wrote a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations, requesting funding for the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture's targeted activities, such as complete profiling of farmers and fisherfolks, georeferencing of 846,000 hectares in addition to the approved 353,800 hectares and upgrading of the Information and Communications Technology network.

"It is crucial that farmers and fisherfolks register to the RSBSA so they can access DA's services," Lee said on Monday.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is the concurrent head of the DA.

Marcos earlier said that the move to head the agriculture department will "make it clear to everyone what a high priority we put on the agriculture sector."

According to Lee, the farmers are complaining about their unclaimed assistance, or ayuda, due to erroneous and mismatched data from their municipality's RSBSA listings.

The lawmaker, meanwhile, stressed that the sought additional funds are required to complete the integration of other agri-fishery databases, such as the Philippine Coconut Authority's National Coconut Farmers Registry and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' Municipal Fisherfolk Registry.

During Lee's interpellation on the DA's proposed 2023 budget, the agency confirmed that farmers and fisherfolks must be registered with the RSBSA to receive ayuda from DA programs.

The sought funding increase, according to the legislator, would be utilized to fully link the RSBSA with other national government agencies for data harmonization, such as the Philippine Identification System and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

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