Villar loses cool during DA budget hearing

Published October 22, 2021, 4:16 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Cynthia Villar on Friday could not help but lose her temper when she scrutinized the proposed P505-million budget of the National Tobacco Administration’s (NTA) budget for 2022.

NTA, an agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA), had included in its proposed budget a P100-million allocation for the provision of “production technical marketing assistance,” which the senator believes is prone to corruption.

Villar let out an expletive during the Senate finance subcommittee hearing after she saw the proposal: “Ang sabi dito…provision of production technical marketing assistance…P*tangina, puro nakaw ito .”

An official from the NTA was heard refuting Villar saying “No, Maam.” But this only irked Villar.

“Tigilan niyo na ko sa mga technical assistance na ‘yan, alam naman natin na drama lang ‘yan ng taon. Naku naman. Diyos ko. Terible (Stop with that technical assistance, we all know that’s all drama. My God. Terrible),” an irate Villar pointed out during the hearing.

Villar said the P100-million amount should just be utilized as emergency assistance for tobacco farmers instead especially those who were affected by the ongoing pandemic.

“Mag-emergency cash assistance na lang kayo para malinaw…Itong technical marketing assistance? Naku, lumilipad ito sa hangin. Ayusin niyo iyan (Just employ an emergency cash assistance to make it clear…a technical marketing assistance? That will just disappear. Fix this),” Villar said.

DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan in response, assured Villar that they will advise the NTA administrator to “recast” their budget.