Vol. XX No. 42

December 27, 2000

Virac, Catanduanes


Major Developments

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Editorial Section

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The Catanduanes Tribune

Rawis, Virac


Philippines - 5001

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Edwin A. Gianan




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Major Developments


Agri, pork have lion's share of dev't funds

Over half of the province's 20% Economic Development Fund for next year has been earmarked for agricultural development as well as for infrastructure projects deemed as pork barrel of the chief executive and members of the provincial board.

The proposed Annual Investment Plan (AIP) of Catanduanes with a total funding of P45,405,633.00 includes an allocation of P16,855,700.00 for agriculture, with huge amounts intended for irrigation (P4,764,500.00), research and development (P5,364,000.00), and production enhancement (P5,545,000.00).

The other large outlay went to the "Executive/SP Outreach Program," a euphemism for the province's pork barrel system wherein the governor and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan allocate for themselves funds for pet projects where the possibility of getting commissions is high. The "program" was given a total funding of P6,425,111.35, nearly 15 percent of the 20% EDF.

The other "pork barrel" outlay, the LGU Infrastructure Assistance, got P5,500,000.00 at half a million each for the province's 11 municipalities. Under this outlay, each town executive gets to fund a pet project charged to the provincial government.

Development planning also got a substantial outlay, with P7,400,000.00 alone going to the preparation and approval of the long-delayed Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) being overseen by the Provincial Planning and Development Office.

For livelihood and community development, cooperative development was allocated P150,000 while the anti-poverty program got P650,000.00. As mandated by a presidential directive, the anti-drug campaign was given P2,270,181.65 or five percent of the EDF.

The tourism sector also received P2,226,640.00 for promotion, events, infrastructure support, agri-ecotourism, and signages. In the environment sector, the province-wide Clean and Green program was earmarked P1,133,000.00, with watershed rehabilitation and Coastal Resource Management getting P100,000 each. The amount of P300,000 was allocated for quarry management while P150,000 was set aside as assistance for the implementation of fishery laws.

The AIP was discussed during the recent meeting of the Catanduanes Development Council where some town mayors sought the removal and replacement of useless projects such as school fencing projects. The approval of the plan would certainly involve controversy, as the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, which will okay the AIP as part of the province's 2001 budget upon the recommendation of the CDC, has been split into two factions, each claiming a quorum and conducting virtually separate sessions.

Copyright 2000 The Catanduanes Tribune