President Rodrigo Duterteâ€™s eccentric tread to MalacaÃ±ang that invited criticisms left the national administration groping for honchos to help man the rudder.
Surprisingly, Duterte, who only banked on sheer passion although packed with experience in addressing the people as mayor of Davao City for seven terms, managed to gather together friends from Davao to contribute to the forming of the development framework.
It was his unique machinery-strapped campaign style that made his win unprecented, thus leaving his team with less preparation as to the composition of the economic team.
An impromptu gathering of experts to his circle filled the gap.
Third District Rep. Arthur Yap explained this as he said he is one of those tapped by the national administration now to help in the economic side.
Yap said that during their recent visit to China, he honestly told Duterte that he himself did not expect the mayor from Davao to win when the President asked him if he ever expected him (Duterte) to win,Â saying it was for the latterâ€™s constant change of pronouncements as to whether to run or not, aside from cussing.
Yap said he, however, told the President that even if the latterâ€™s campaign style was not one that makes people expect a win, the people of Bohol just got convinced as they jammed to his rallies in Ubay and Tagbilaran City, and so with the other areas.
â€œThe reason Iâ€™m saying this is, since they did not expect him to win,Â wala silang tao. They need assistance,â€ according to Yap.
For this, the congressman appealed to his constituents to continue supporting Duterte by doing their part in the community.
â€œIf you want the government to succeed, do your part. My only role is to help the national government out, because they need as much assistance right now. For the national side, they are asking many friends in Davao. The government needs help on the higher levels of government and Iâ€™m helping also in my own capacity. But they are going to need all our help,â€ Yap told the mayors of third district during the briefing on the 10-point agenda on agriculture of the national administration last Friday.
Yap said that right now, he helps Duterteâ€™s team to access again, together with NEDA, the available funds left by the Arroyo administration which the Aquino administration had not utilized.
â€œIn 2010, we left a $500-million soft loan facility and $20-million grant which I know was not used by the Aquino administration.Â Sayang.Â I always said before, they want to fight with China about the Scarborough Shoal and the West Philippine Sea, you fight for the property but you also use them. Do not have a bad relationship with them so you can also access the economic assistance if you can,â€ Yap said.
With the funding, Yap said they were able to reactivate the Bohol Northeast Trans-Basin Irrigation Project that was approved.
â€œSo, we are going to get a new irrigation project. We are just finishing the final studies right now. In Japan, I was able to help secure a 20-million-box annual order from Farmind Corporation.Â Farmind Corporation is the biggest buyer of Philippine high-value crops.Â Ang sabi ni Digong,Â he wants to develop high-value crops in conflict areas that were recovered,â€ according to Yap.
ECONOMY AND THE DRUG WAR
Yap said he had been asked many times about the human rights record and whatâ€™s happening with extra-judicial killings wherein he explained that â€œwe know we are undergoing a very different time right nowâ€.
â€œIn my own small town in Loboc where we have 10,000 voters, 700 pushers and users had surrendered voluntarily. Thatâ€™s for those who voluntarily surrendered. How about those who did not voluntarily surrendered? What do you think?Â Doble?Â There could be 1,200-1,400 drug personalities,â€ Yap said
He said the foreign investors at first expressed concern on the impression that the President is killing people.
â€œI said itâ€™s not true. Please understand also because in my own town, 10,000 votersÂ lang mi, 700Â ang nag-surrender,â€ Yap added.
Yap chairs the House Committee on Economic Affairs, so he appears before the foreign chambers- -the PCCI, European Chamber, and all the embassies who come to for consultation.
SCORE ON POVERTY
Yap also noted that theÂ poverty incidence is alarming and even if the bottom-up budgeting is no longer there, he will continue consulting the mayors and vice mayors in discussing projects.
He said he can help the local government units get funds for their projects by linking them up with the national agencies.
Yap said that he thanks Duterte that even if he did not run under PDP-Laban, the national administration still allocate a considerable budget for his district.
He said that he proposed P150 million for the agriculture projects of third district, but it was trimmed to P111 million which is still the biggest budget to the third district.
The district got P19.86 million in 2013; P72.49 million in 2014; P34.96 million in 2015; P75.34 million for 2016; and P111.24 million for 2017.
DA-7 Regional Director Angel Enriquez said that in the 2017 allocation, P76.75 million will go to the rice program, P1.64 million will go to livestock program, P8.43 million for the corn program, P24.05 million for the high-value crops development program, and P355,000 for organic agriculture program.
Yap added that third district will receive P1.094 million for the coming year, one of the biggest allocation given to any district in the country.