Scientist group: Projects like NOAH/DREAM should not be used to justify DAP
Calls for increased allocation for research and development in the general appropriations instead of arbitrary impoundment of budget
The scientist group AGHAM - Advocates of Science and Technology for the People called on President Aquino not use projects such as Project NOAH/DREAM to justify for its unconstitutional impoundment and disbursement of public funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Of typhoons and the DAP
July 16, 2014 10:53 pm
The power went out shortly after I started writing this column early Wednesday morning. It is during these times that you appreciate battery packs and the foresight to charge electronic gadgets. It is also the time you discover the creaking and whistling that your house can produce as the winds of Typhoon Glenda blew through it like a musical instrument. At 4 in the morning, the rain outside and the glow of the monitor in one’s face can drive the imagination enough to scare oneself.
“The government should think twice before implementing chemical methods and other knee-jerk reactions to combat the infestation of coconut scale insects, such as the use of dinotefuran, a pesticide found to be harmful to pollinators. Instead of abating the current situation, this step could further damage our coconut industry," said Finesa Cosico, Secretary General of AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People.
The coconut scale insect, Aspidiotus destructor rigidus Reyne, has already ravaged more than 60% of the total coconut farming areas in the country and imperils one third of the livelihood of the coconut farming population according to the Philippine Coconut Authority.
The group has repeatedly urged the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the comprehensive approach to the coconut scale insect (CSI) infestation while providing for immediate relief to affected coconut farmers.
Aspidiotus sp. or Coconut Scale Insects (CSI) are already wreaking havoc in Calabarzon and the Zamboanga Peninsula in Mindanao.
The BS Aquino Administration through the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Kiko Pangilinan announced a P750-million budget for the control of CSI. The said amount will cover the implementation of control measures including 1) pruning of heavily infected leaves; 2) applying of systemic insecticide to tree trunks; 3) spraying of organic insecticides to coconut leaves in slightly infested areas; 4) fertilizing of trees for faster recovery; and 5) introducing natural enemies.
These are mere palliative measures. The government should implement a comprehensive program to strengthen the capacity of coconut farmers to withstand pests, calamities and other natural threats to the coconut industry instead of solely relying on myopic or technical solutions to the current problem of CSI infestation.
Last weekend, an interesting hashtag kept popping up my social media timelines: “#BracketAKaNa”. While the concatenated words might not be familiar to many, it is a tag that was trending in the Twitter and Facebook lists due to the implementation of the Socialized Tuition System (STS) by the University of the Philippines. The “bracket A” that the tag is referring to is the tuition fee discount category that the new system has. Bracket A is referred to as the “millionaire bracket” since it offers the student no tuition discounts.
Applicants to the tuition fee system are assessed on the “paying capacity of the household to which a student belongs” which “looks at the income as well as the socio-economic characteristics of the household” according to the UP System website. The website also says that based on “the information submitted by the students, the University may grant tuition discounts and, in certain cases, monthly stipends” as assessed by the STS system.