Philippines: Malacanang using DAR funds for ARC partylist

May. 11, 2007

MANILA — The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Bantay Pondo at Boto watchdog revealed that Malacanang has been using the funds of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to campaign for another one of its front party list groups.

According to Danilo Ka Daning Ramos, secretary general of KMP and convenor of Bantay Pondo at Boto, we have received documents and information from concerned employees of the DAR that the funds of the department are being used by its officials to campaign for the Alliance for Rural Concerns Party list. They have organized workshops, meetings and even regional visits to campaign for the group, which was formed by unscrupulous DAR officials and pseudo-progressives with the blessing of Malacanang to campaign for the extension of the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP),
This is obviously a government program which they are trying to railroad using the party list system. If we are to look at their nominees also we are to find that the son of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is their top choice, a guy who does not know anything about land reform or rural development regardless of what his political operators say and their second choice is the incumbent DAR Assistant Sec. Kashmir Releyetana for Foreign Funding Assistance Project Office (FAPsO) and also does not know anything about rural development, said Ramos.
He even has the gall not to resign from his office, but then again he is using the resources for their campaign anyway. It should also be noted that the DAR has just called for a meeting for a financial planning finalization last April 16-19 but it is already well into the year why call for it just now when the election campaign is well underway. Is the DAR running for 4 months without budget? DAR insiders have also said that another conference for a supposed budget have been again been called for DAR provincial and regional officers just the other day, added the peasant leader.
All indications point that the money flowing from the DAR today is all geared for the campaign of ARC and the Team Unity slate, a full blown investigation must be launched. The ARC party list must immediately be disqualified for misuse of public funds and for being a front of Malacanang, ended Ramos. # # #

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