Aquino administration

Securing our future through Agriculture

Image courtesy of COCAFM

The average age of Filipino farmers, according to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, is 57. Meanwhile, the average age of the Department of Agriculture‘s (DA) employees is mid 50’s.  Aren’t  the figures alarming?

To solve this hounding problem in the Philippine agricultural sector, DA Secretary Proceso Alcala announced during the third Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation and Food Security on Wednesday, July 13, that the Aquino government is providing scholarship grants to Filipinos especially the children of farmers to encourage them to take-up courses in agriculture.

“Ang malaking kikitain ang nag-aakit sa mga magsasaka para payagan ang anak niya na kumuha ng agricultural classes. Meron po tayong scholarship funds,” said Alcala.

In addition, the DA Secretary affirms that government programs in agriculture are now in place to help farmers and empower them with proper farming practices and the provision of funding support to increase their productivity in their respective communities.

“Kung iyon pong magulang (farmers) nabigyan natin ng pagkakataon na kumita

Image courtesy of COCAFM

na hindi naman po sila nag-aral ng kumpleto nung una pero dahil sa tamang tulong ngayon na technical, may access sa funds, with that marketing help (from the government), kumikita na po sila ng mas mahigit sa isang ordinaryong empleyadong sumusweldo sa banko,” Alcala stressed.

With the continuous rise in unemployment rate in the country, Sec. Procy said that it is more wise and practical to send children in agricultural schools which are more affordable than allowing them to take-up expensive courses that won’t land them a job.

Sec. Proceso Alcala said that the Department of Agriculture is working hard to achieve and implement effectively government programs to meet President Aquino’s order to advocate and support the productivity of farmers in the countryside or rural areas where help is most needed.

On the other hand, the DA secretary also emphasized the need of Filipino farmers to undergo training in pest management, organic farming and other services to sustainable management of crops, livestocks and grains.

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, who has been closely working with Sec. Alcala, said in one of his press releases that there are lots of opportunities in farming and what’s needed is actually a synergy of the whole chain–from the producers to the traders.

Image courtesy of COCAFM

The Senator also wishes to change how farmers are generally perceived and turn them as “farmpreneurs.” (coined from the word farmer and entrepreneur)

“We will build their capacity to earn more by providing them the means to sell their products directly to market via our fellow AF2025 convenors. We also have in AF2025 the built-in network to ensure the sustainability of the project,” said the Senator.

Sen. Pangilinan along with the Department of Agriculture and the private sector convened the Agriculture and Fisheries 2025 (AF2025), gathering for the first time representatives of farmers, traders, suppliers and media to craft a long-term plan in addressing the country’s various agriculture and fisheries issues.

“This is an out-of-the box way of approaching decades-old problem of unemployment, poverty, and food self-sufficiency. And this is exactly the proverbial shot in the arm needed to boost further what the DA under the Aquino administration has accomplished. It is about time our agriculture and fisheries sector get the recognition and status that they deserve,” conveyed Pangilinan.

Purisima richest, Luistro poorest in Cabinet

Purisima richest, Luistro poorest in Cabinet
By Christina Mendez
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Finance Secretary Cesar Purisma is the Aquino administration’s richest Cabinet member with a net worth of over P252 million while Education Secretary Armin Luistro is the least moneyed with only over P89,000.

The figures were based on the Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) submitted by the two officials and 16 other Cabinet members to the Commission on Appointments. Luistro declared his annual gross salary at P989,496.

Purisima, one of the campaign contributors of President Aquino, listed business interests – in partnership with his wife Maria Corazon – in at least four corporations.

The Finance secretary owns Filhouse Gem Inc., which he acquired on Feb. 24, 1997.

Purisima’s wife listed 20 to 23.53 percent share in MHC Commercial Corp., Zurcaled Realty and Development, and Archimedes Realty and Development Corp.

Purisima’s real properties include a condominium in Wack Wack Tower in Mandaluyong City; a unit in Villa Milagrosa Townhouse in San Pedro, Laguna; a house and lot in Ayala Alabang which he co-owned with his father and two sisters, and a condominium in Pinecrest, Tagaytay.

The second richest in the Aquino Cabinet is Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo whose net worth for this year is more than P151 million. He listed his wife, Rowena, as being a shareholder in Rights Security.

Following Domingo was Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras with a net worth of over P129 million.

Almendras reported owning a BMW 520-I worth P3.7 million, which he acquired in 2005 in addition to three other cars.

In his SALN, Almendras also listed P3.58 million in club shares and P9.264 million in various shares of stocks, and bank deposits/placement/foreign current placements amounting to P57.825 million.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, former congressman of the second district of Quezon, has a total net worth of more than P87 million comprising 10 real properties, a number of vehicles and some investments.

Alcala has a real estate mortgage worth P11,447 million, three car loans with various banks as well as personal loan.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson listed net worth of more than P84 million.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona, former executive director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, reported total net worth of over P77 million.

Ona included in his assets P74.441 million in stocks and investments, P2.596 million in motor vehicles, P1.317 million in cash and jewelry, and P500,000 in medical instruments.

Ona’s liabilities included P5.2 million in personal loans and income tax payables.

Science Secretary Mario Montejo reported more than P53 million net worth.

Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim listed close to P47 million net worth.

Lim reported being a shareholder in the Aldaba-Lim Foundation; Phil. Playhouse Inc; The Ancient Pergamom Holdings Inc., among other firms.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has a net worth of over P23 million listing among others investments in Tagaytay Highlands, Malarayat Golf and Country Club, and Great Cakes Inc, and a number of real estate properties.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. listed his net worth at P16.081 million with no liability.

Ochoa included in his assets a condominium unit in Quezon City, a house and lot in Ferndale Homes also in Quezon City and a lot in Pulilan, Bulacan.

National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia reported P15.6 million in net worth.

Agrarian Reform Virgilio de los Reyes has a net worth of P15.042 million. De los Reyes listed several real properties in Lian and Balayan, Batangas; Obando in Bulacan, and Malabon totaling P8.786 million.

Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo’s net worth totaled P5.7 million while Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has P3.2 million.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman has a total net worth of P2.125 million. Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje’s SALN showed his net worth at P3.2 million, but he did not submit SALN documents to the CA because his name was not submitted for confirmation by the Palace. The CA received no SALN from Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and Socioeconomic Secretary Cayetano Paderanga.

So far, the CA has only started the confirmation hearings on Luistro and Almendras. The CA has set a confirmation hearing for Lim on Dec. 8. – Aurea Calica

CABINET ASSETS

1. CESAR PURISIMA (finance) P252 M

2. GREGORY DOMINGO (trade) P151 M

3. JOSE ALMENDRAS (energy) P 129 M

4. PROCESO ALCALA (agriculture) P87 M

5. ROGELIO SINGSON (public works) P84.4 M

6. ENRIQUE ONA (health) P77.5 M

7. MARIO MONTEJO (science) P53.1 M

8. ALBERTO LIM (tourism) P46.9 M

9. VOLTAIRE GAZMIN (defense) P23.1 M

10. HERMINIO COLOMA (communications) P14.7

11. PAQUITO OCHOA (executive secretary) P16 M

12. CESAR GARCIA (national security) P15.6 M

13. VIRGILIO DELOS REYES (agrarian reform) P15 M

14. ALBERTO ROMULO (foreign affairs) P5.7 M

15. LEILA DE LIMA (justice) P3.29 M

16. RAMON PAJE (environment) P3.25 M

17. CORAZON SOLIMAN (social welfare) P2.1 M

18. ROSALINDA BALDOZ (labor) P1.7 M

19. ARMIN LUISTRO (education) P89,000