Rough Cuts: Congressman Karlo’s next best move

We strongly agree with the proposition of Davao City Councilor Dr. Mary Joselle Villafuerte, widow of our very good friend, the late councilor Louie Villafuerte, that as the “Most Child-friendly City in the Country” awardee, “we must do more than just report these incidences of sexual abuse; we must institute protective and preventive measures.”

Yes, the councilor is right even as we see that she appears to be beaten to the draw by Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum. The latter, in an earlier nationwide interview over a radio/television network, disclosed that the Davao Police is shifting to another approach in dealing with the increasing number of rape cases in the city. According to the Police Director his office would institute a strategy that would put more premium on information, education and communication (IEC) component on the drive against this heinous crime against the female genre.

In that interview the Police Director said he believes that the bigger role in the prevention of the crime of rape lies with potential victims and her prevailing family values. In interpreting Tagum’s idea we can say that the official believes that a potential victim can best protect herself by not giving any man she suspects to possess devilish mind any opportunity to develop any lewd idea, much more the chance to execute his carnal desire on her.

Thus, Tagum seems to hit the nail on the head when he thought of educating potential rape victims on how they could avoid the heinous crime against their person, or secure help when confronted by a potential rapist.

On the other hand, the police official’s plan to look into the prevailing family values and to possibly change these for the better through the IEC approach, could also be a good deterrence from incest rapes.

So, we consider Councilor Villafuerte’s plan for a multi-agency effort to arrest the increasing incidence of rape cases is a timely move. And by calling for joint committee hearings among relevant Sanggunian bodies to brainstorm for an effective approach against the crime, Davao may just be able to escape the potential tagging of the city as a “rape capital.”

For now, Davao’s having the most number of rape cases in the entire country, according to police record and admitted by Police Director Tagum, is clearly doing injustice to city’s being known as a virtual “drug free” metropolis.

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Davao City First District Congressman Karlo Alexie Nograles, chair of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, has called out the National Food Authority (NFA) for using billions of pesos in funds for its palay procurement program to pay off the agency’s loans with the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

According to Congressman Karlo he himself discovered the new unauthorized use of the fund by the NFA which was on top of what the Commission on Audit (COA) has already raised a red flag. In other words, the discovery of Congressman Karlo is a new diversion of funds that should have been used for the purchase of palay or import rice from other countries, to accumulate a comfortable level of buffer stock that would ensure food stability for the country.

Good thing that this seemingly very anomalous utilization of the NFA money at the national level has already reached the knowledge of Congress, first through the COA report, and now through the discovery by no less than House Appropriations Committee chair Congressman Karlo Nograles.

But we believe there is one question begging for a clear answer. And this is, “Who makes the decision on matters like diverting funds intended for a specific purpose to another projects or programs of the agency?” Is it the NFA Council? Has the agency a board, other than the NFA Council, that sets policies and approves any or all programs and projects that need to be undertaken for the agency to get its mandate done?

It is our take that this time Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles should not only limit his intervention on the mess created by the NFA on the rice supply situation of the country. The Congressman must initiate an investigation on the conduct of the NFA’s affair. After all, it is Nograles’ committee that sets aside the more than P7 billion funds for the grains agency’s Buffer Stocking Program both for rice importation and for in-country’s palay procurement.

Indeed, even the dumb can understand that if P5 billion is taken from the P7 billion funds for rice procurement, the remaining P2 billion or less would not be enough to buy the target buffer stock of 153,483 metric tons of rice. And the preceding figure is even that of last year yet! How much more for this year’s desired buffer stock?

All these developments only further strengthen the call for the abolition, or perhaps restructuring of the NFA.

Posted in Opinion