House to probe ‘bansot’ GMA rice

The House committee on agriculture wants to know what it is, and the panel is launching an investigation.

Resolution 966, authored by Nueva Ecija Rep. Edno Joson, prompted the inquiry.

Joson said he has been receiving complaints from hundreds of farmers in his province about what they described as their “bansot” or undersized rice crops.

He said the problems began when farmers started using the hybrid seed SL-8, which the Department of Agriculture (DA) is distributing under its Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program.

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BSP cuts rediscount rate, ups budget

The measures were the latest efforts by the central bank to boost the economy and cushion the impact of a worsening global downturn.

The BSP has slashed its key overnight borrowing rate — the rate at which the central bank pays banks for short-term deposits — by a total 100 basis points in December and January to 5.0% at present, and analysts are expecting more as inflation continues to ease.

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Bridge program: P90B spent in 10 years mostly on roads to nowhere

BETWEEN 1996 to 2006, the national government borrowed and spent close to P90 billion on 13 different bridge repair and construction projects so ridden with anomalies that multi-million-peso steel-and-concrete spans were erected on carabao cart paths and roads leading to nowhere.

With project implementing offices (PMOs) stumbling over each other in identifying supposed “priority project areas,” at least 40 bridges ended up having duplicate budgets while hundreds of lumber-and-bamboo gangplanks servicing populous barangays were left unattended.

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Fast-tracked spending crucial 80% of P1.4-trillion ’09 budget should be used in first half — Recto

Fast-tracked spending crucial 80% of P1.4-trillion ’09 budget should be used in first half — Recto

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph G. Recto yesterday said 80% of the P1.415-trillion 2009 budget — which is yet to be signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo — should be used during the first six months of the year as there was a chance of a second-half recovery.

The rebound, he told a Palace briefing, depends on whether the government’s proposed stimulus program is carried out as planned.

“2009 will be a critical year as far as the global economy is concerned. The biggest effect on the Philippines will probably be in 2009 as well, so the first six months [will be crucial],” Mr. Recto said.

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Enrile defends provision on school building funds

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile defended yesterday a provision in the 2009 budget of the Department of Education, which provided for the concurrence of congressmen before construction projects are started in their respective districts.

Enrile said he does not see anything wrong with such a provision in the budget.

He, however, denied responsibility for the inclusion of the provision because he has relinquished his chairmanship of the finance committee. Enrile said he was not in the bicameral committee when the agreement was reached.

“Because the congressmen would determine where the school buildings will be located, what barangays, what towns. They know the condition of the needs of the districts. I don’t think they will make money out of that,” Enrile said.

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