Kiko urges probe of ‘mishandling’ of P1-B jatropha fund

November 15, 2011
November 14, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan is urging the Department of Agriculture and concerned agencies to investigate the alleged mishandling of the P1-billion fund that was allotted for jatropha production during the Arroyo administration.  

“As it is, we are currently struggling to find funds that will help us become self-sufficient in producing food. The money we spend on projects should be handled with much care, recognizing that these are funds that should benefit the whole nation,” Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said in a statement issued on Monday.

The Department of Energy recently announced that the government had lost P1 billion after the Philippine National Oil Corporation’s Alternative Fuel Corporation abandoned the jatropha project for not being commercially viable.

The fund was released in 2009 during the Arroyo administration.

“We cannot afford to be so careless with money, especially with funds that should have been used to support food self-sufficiency programs and programs that aim to improve the incomes of our farmers and agricultural workers,” said Panglinan.

According to the senator, considerable studies and small-scale feasibility studies should have been done first “before jumping on the hype of jatropha.”

“We need to investigate and expose the errors made in this botched project that cost our countrymen P1 billion, with the end in view that such errors will not be made again,” said Panglinan.

He said that those behind the “blunder should explain themselves to our countrymen, especially to the millions of Filipinos who continue to experience hunger.”

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