Press Release
October 12, 2016


At the Commission on Appointments (CA) public hearing that came before the formal confirmation, Dominguez explained his position on the administration's proposed policies concerning the agriculture sector that were reported in the media.

Pangilinan, chairman of the CA Committee on Finance, asked Dominguez, a former secretary of agriculture, about his position on the abolition of irrigation fees, the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA), and the coco levy fund.

"Regarding the irrigation fees, and I have expressed this to the President, I told him that while it is a popular idea to eliminate irrigation fees, I think this is not such a good idea because people who get things for free tend to waste them," Dominguez said explaining his position on the proposed abolition of irrigation fees.

"If the water is free, people will not conserve it. It's just the human nature that I observed. I think the irrigation fees should be paid to the irrigation cooperatives for continuous maintenance of the irrigation canals," the new finance secretary added.

Dominguez also explained his position on the proposed abolition of the NFA.

"NFA definitely has a function and that function is to provide buffer stock for calamities, for unforeseen circumstances in our nation. However, NFA's budget is too small to really intervene in the market and we might as well use those funds to provide the buffer stocking operations. Therefore, I think the NFA should be limited to buffer stock operations," Dominguez said.

"With regards to the coco levy fund, and we discussed this with the President and we believe that there is legislation necessary to utilize those coco levy funds for the benefit of farmers in the coconut areas. And we think that legislation should be passed whereby these funds are utilized for the benefit of the people in the coconut areas and I would support using these funds to provide scholarships," Dominguez said on his position on the coco levy fund which was discussed in a public hearing and technical working group by Pangilinan's Senate Committee on Agriculture.

"I think it's very difficult right now to identify who paid what into that fund. This fund has been around for over 40 years. Supporting scholarships, supporting better farming methods, maybe supporting fertilization and new intercropping methods with coconuts as well as different varieties of coconuts, I think should be done by legislation," the finance secretary added.

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