Loren Legarda

“What happened to the P500-M research fund?” – PAMALAKAYA to DENR

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“What happened to the P500-M research fund?” – PAMALAKAYA to DENR050112 Benham Rise 1

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) what happened to the P500-million budget allotted to the agency for marine biodiversity research of the Philippine Rise (formerly known as the Benham Rise).

The group learned that Senator Loren Legarda in the early part of 2017 excised P500 million from the DENR’s National Greening Program (NGP) to the research purpose of Philippine Rise to tap the resource-rich underwater plateau’s marine potentials.

But the group said the DENR has yet to release to the public any result of the research or if the budget was spent properly.

The DENR has been keeping silent on the issue of Philippine Rise despite the government pronouncement that the Filipino scientist could not afford to conduct research due to lack of funding. The budget allotted to the agency is enough for research because according to scientists, it will only take at least P300 million for the research on Philippine Rise. Now with that big budget allotted to the agency, who is to say that we still need foreign countries like the China, U.S., and Japan to conduct research in our own yard?”  PAMALAKAYA Chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.

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