Nabcor deal documented, NGO co-op in good standing
This is in reaction to the Inquirer’s March 18 banner story on “83 lawmakers tied to agri pork racket.” It reported that “four senators and 79 representatives coursed a total of P1.7 billion of their pork barrel allocations during a three-year period through state-operated National Agri-Business Corp. (Nabcor), with orders to funnel the funds to questionable nongovernment organizations (NGOs), official documents showed.”
The story was followed by a list of lawmakers, which included me as having coursed through Nabcor the amount of P10 million for the Federation of Free Farmers Cooperative (sic).
In the interest of truth, may I state the following facts:
1. On June 30, 2009, then Secretary Arthur Yap allocated P10 million out of the Department of Agriculture’s livestock, crops and fisheries program to support integrated livelihood projects to be endorsed by me as representative of the ABA-AKO party-list coalition of small farmers and urban poor organizations in the 14th Congress.
The P10 million was not sourced from the Priority Development Assistance Fund, more commonly referred to as “pork barrel.”
2. The implementation of the ABA-AKO project was undertaken by the Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives (FFFC). Established in 1966, FFFC is registered with the Cooperative Development Authority and is certified as a national secondary cooperative “in good standing.”
3. Pursuant to the March 25, 2010 memorandum of agreement (MOA) among Nabcor, me and FFFC, the latter provided a project counterpart of P2 million and procured 5,542 units of heavy-duty multipurpose tarpaulins. These “lonas” were distributed to individual farmers, fisherfolk and their organizations primarily for the drying and protection of their farm products. The FFFC submitted, together with photo documentation, acknowledgment receipts signed by the individual beneficiaries. The distribution of these materials were further separately verified by me and my staff and by Nabcor, which conducted site inspection trips in various parts of the country. Also, as per MOA requirement, a special project audit was done by an external auditor, whose report was submitted to Nabcor.
I hope that the above facts will correct any wrong perceptions that may have arisen from the article.
—LEONARDO Q. MONTEMAYOR
12 Aster Street, West Fairview,
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