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Salceda’s district gets P315-M agri projects

By Mar S. Arguelles

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee, has obtained funding for a total of P315 million in new agriculture infrastructure projects for Legazpi City and the towns of Manito, Camalig, and Daraga under the Intensified Building Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development (I-BUILD) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Salceda in a statement said the projects were proposed by the local government units (LGUs) and endorsed and secured by him in a recent meeting with Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

He said that four projects proposed by the LGUs will cover water systems, a trading post, and two slaughterhouses, including one with the highest classification in Legazpi City.

“The projects represent different segments of the agriculture value chain. The slaughterhouses are also crucial investments since we need biosafety improvements in light of the African Swine Fever,” Salceda said.

The projects are: P35.6-million Level 2 Water System for farms in Manito; P75-million trading post in Camalig, Albay; construction of a P55-million AA slaughterhouse in Daraga, Albay; and P150- million improvement of a slaughterhouse in Legazpi to AAA standards, the highest-rated slaughterhouse in the region in terms of capabilities and biosafety features.

“We have a very productive partnership with Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture. Secretary Dar is focused on agricultural modernization so that farmers produce more and get more money out of it. It’s the way forward with this sector,” Salceda said.

“In Albay, we are thankful that the DA looks to us as a case study for effective agricultural policies and programs. The Edible Landscaping sa Barangay Project (ELBP) by my district is considered to be one of the most successful communities food production schemes anywhere in the country. We are also a DA-priority area for palay production under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF),” he said.

“During the same meeting, Secretary Dar also committed to supporting our hog repopulation and protein substitution schemes. This will help stabilize food prices in Albay, especially since Bicol food prices are at a higher level, as shown in the Philippine Statistics Authority’s inflation reports for the past two months,” Salceda added.

“During this period of depressed incomes, the last thing you want is higher food prices and lower food supply. So, we thank the DA for lending us a helping hand in feeding our people in 2D-Albay,” Salceda stated.

Salceda also said that he is working with the DA to raise the agriculture budget by at least 10 percent.

“It’s an underfunded sector, accounting for 8 percent of the GDP, 22 percent of the labor force, but just around 2 percent of direct government spending. That’s not an equitable distribution of resources, especially if we want to lift the conditions of the farmers and the rural poor,” Salceda said.

“As vice-chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and in my capacity as a senior member of the House leadership, I committed to Secretary Dar that I will help bring the Agriculture budget up,” Salceda said.

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