Helping or selling?

October 25, 2018

REPORTS said an Italian company is offering help to boost the country’s procurement of palay  (unhusked rice).

If accepted, the loan will be used to build agricultural facilities particularly grain silos where the National Food Authority can keep its bulky materials.

According to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, the plan is to build 20 silos in the country’s various production area.

He said each silo can store up to 60,000 metric tons of paddy rice. The facilities, he added, can withstand strong typhoons.

But what’s interesting is that aside from the interest charges that the government will pay later on if it avails of the loan, it’s the said Italian firm that will construct the silos, probably because it has the technology.

No problem with that, except for the fact that it appears that the firm is actually selling money and technology instead of ‘helping’.

Selling and helping are two different things.

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With most of government officials tasked to implement the Build Build Build program complaining the problems on right of way (row) I can’t help but remember the question of Angkla Partylist Rep. Jess Manalo: “Why are we not using our expropriation law?”

During a House hearing in the past, Manalo asked this question to executives of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation, and the Metro Manila Development Authority over the slow pace of implementing infrastructure projects.

Manalo said the law was made precisely to deal with ROW problems and yet the government is not fully applying it to build important roads, highways and bridges.

The expropriation law facilitates the acquisition of ROW sites for national government infrastructure projects.  It outlines procedures on providing “just compensation” to owners of expropriated real properties to expedite implementation of government infrastructure programs.

It allows expropriation -- meaning to take away --  of private property for public use or in the interest of national welfare or defense, and offers fair market value compensation.

Just recently, another hearing was made at the House of Representatives to find out the status of the government’s flagship infrastructure projects and the findings were not encouraging because government executives are still complaining about ROW woes.

ROW issues have been stalling many of President Duterte’s key infrastructure projects which are supposed to deal with the traffic mess in Metro Manila and hasten commerce in the archipelago.

Duterte has little more than three years left in Malacanang, and things are slowing down, or losing muscle, in his ambitious Build Build Build program.

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