President Duterte favors free equipment for farmers

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MANILA, Philippines –  President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he supports farmers and vowed to buy more farming equipment for distribution to them.

Duterte said his administration will not ask for counterpart funding from farmers for tractors.
The president was reacting to information from Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol that farmers who were given tractors by the past administration needed to raise a certain amount of money to pay for a portion of the cost of equipment.

Duterte said in his speech at the launching of the comprehensive reform and development agenda for Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and other conflict areas in Regions 9, 10 and 12 that the government will provide the equipment.

“Kind of stupid at hindi ko talaga maintindihan. Why would you come up with a program which would be asking a counterpart? Binibigyan mo na nga kasi mahirap. So the next acquisition, yung mga tractor eh it's a very small one... hindi naman yung tractor nakikita mo doon sa construction. But it's a farm tractor and I will buy more and I will give everybody their fair share,” he added.

The president said the government can develop Mindanao to its fullest extent and provide income and food for Filipinos. He advised them to take care of equipment provided because these will be sourced from the public’s pocket.

“Well, anyway take care of those properties because it is not ours. It is the money of the people. So kung ano yung maibigay, lalo ‘yung mga makinarya, the secret there is maintenance. Sundin mo lang kung ano sinasabi doon sa libro para tumagal yung bagay sa inyo,” Duterte said.

“But I will provide sa karamihan. At galing man akong China, I can ask for more. Baka ibigay sa atin ng libre and so I can really develop Mindanao to its fullest extent,” he added.

Duterte did not specifically mention where he will source funds for the farming equipment but he previously said he is considering reviving the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ agriculture and fishery programs using the 2017 budget. He said the budget prioritizes education, agriculture and health.

The administration has also committed to providing farmers free irrigation starting next year after the Senate guaranteed the approval of the P4-billion additional funding for the program.


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