Second District Board Members Ryan D. Maminta and Ariston D. Arzaga are requesting that the provincial government establish an Agriculture and Fisheries Development Fund (AFDF).
The two board members filed proposed Ordinance No. 54-22, or the ordinance ensuring the budget allocation for local food security plans and programs of the Palawan provincial government to be known as the Agriculture and Fishery Development Program (AFDP), during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session on Tuesday.
The proposed ordinance would give the fund 5% of the provincial government’s General Funds. The ordinance also mandates that all municipalities in the province pass comparable legislation.
Other similar allocations are mandated from the province’s general funds, but none for food security programs and projects, according to Maminta.
“We intend to make the allocation of agriculture and fishery funds in all budgeting processes of the local government units (LGU), including the province. We have five percent disaster risk and reduction management fund, we have five percent gender and development fund, we have 20 percent development fund, we have one percent fund for seniors and PWDs,” Maminta said.
“Hence, we contemplated an out of the box ordinance that will ensure budget allocation for agriculture and fishery programs in the entire province. Pag pinagsama-sama natin yun, given the national tax allocation of municipalities including that of barangays and the provincial government, I think we will make a dent in agriculture and fishery development,” he explained.
Maminta further stated that for the funds to be properly utilized, the provincial government should have a list of priority programs that will be funded.
“Kailangan lang mag-provide ang provincial government ng parang menu, like that of the 20 percent development fund. When it comes to agriculture and fishery development, when it comes to the utilization of such funds,” he said.
Meanwhile, Board Member Winston G. Arzaga said a proposal is pending at the senate for the establishment of “what they call as the local development equalization fund” which he said answers the same concerns of Maminta and Arzaga.
“The purpose of that bill is to address the so many devolved functions of national government to the LGUs without the corresponding funds being devolved. So the functions of the LDEF perhaps, concerns food security. And again, this will be a national law that will be mandated in all provinces, all municipalities to set aside a certain amount for this purpose,” Arzaga said.
“This is timely, if we couldn’t wait for the approval of the national law, we may go ahead but perhaps we wait for a little time,” he added.
The proposed ordinance was referred to the Committees on Agriculture and Appropriations for further study and deliberations.
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