Piñol revamps farm-to-market road unit
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has ordered an overhaul of the Farm-to-Market-Road Development Program Division (FMRDP), a controversial unit of the Department of Agriculture.
Piñol placed the FMRDP, which is sometimes jokingly called the Farm-to-My-Pocket Road Program or Road-to-My-Farm Program, under the Office of the Secretary and replaced all its staff with new faces.
He said the FMRDP, which has an annual budget of P6 billion, has been “politicized, rife with corruption and is being implemented without a national road map.”
After consultation with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Piñol said the DA will now identify at least three farm-to-market road projects in a congressional district based on market connectivity and let the congressman choose his priority.
Under the current set-up, the congressmen identify the road projects in their districts, which are mostly based on political consideration, not food production.
A congressman would divide his P25-million road allocation to a 200-meter road project in one area, another 500-meter road in another area, and so on.
Piñol also said he wants the FMRs to be constructed by the DA, instead of the DPWH.
He said he will also ensure that the new program will not be used by scammers and syndicates, who ask for money from local officials in exchange for the release of funds for their areas.