President Rodrigo Duterte may come to Negros Occidental next month for the launching of the Bigas ng Masa of the Department of Agriculture, as the province will be the pilot area of the program.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino told the DAILY STAR yesterday that this was one of the plans discussed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol during the opening of the 1 st Philippine Sugarcane Farming Mechanization on Tuesday in Bacolod City.
Masculino said that Piñol wants the President to lead the launching of the program next month, adding that they hope it will coincide with the 25 th celebration of the Panaad sa Negros Festival.
The Bigas ng Masa program is a tri-partite agreement between DA, Negros Occidental provincial government and a farmers’ cooperative that will sell commercial rice at less than P40 per kilo, Piñol said, when he visited the Rice Processing Complex in Barangay Tabunan, Bago City, in Negros Occidental, March 3.
His plan is to maximize the utilization of the RPC by turning it over to a farmers’ cooperative as, after its ceremonial opening by then President Benigno Aquino III, the facility was left idle for 5 years.
He added that the Bago City RPC was established by the Department of Agriculture in 2012 during the previous administration for P25 million with a provincial counterpart of P35million.
Piñol said it only became operational after he issued a warning that the DA, under President Rodrigo Duterte, will take back the Bago City RPC if it was not made useful.
Masculino also said that they are now identifying the farmers’ cooperative that will be part of the program as he had presented it to the city and municipal agriculturist on Tuesday at their monthly meeting.*MLG
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