SOME 1.1-million rice farmers have pledged to donate one kilo of hybrid rice each as a Christmas gift to soldiers who fought in Marawi City and to the other needy people in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s pro-poor program.
In an interview, Silvestre Bonto, president of the National Confederation of Irrigators Association, said the organization had issued a memorandum, requesting its 1.1-million members to give out at least one kilo of rice each supposedly to be a “surprise” gift to the President.
“Our initiative is a gesture of gratitude to the President for granting us free irrigation services,” he told the Manila Standard.
“Those who cannot give rice may donate a cash equivalent of P40 each so we can buy rice.”
The NCIA has set a national irrigators’ association general assembly on Dec. 14 to Dec. 16 in Davao City and has invited Duterte as their distinguished guest, Bonto said.
“It is 100 percent committed that the President is coming over,” he said.
The 1.1 million kilos of good quality rice was supposed to be a surprise gift to the President, he said, adding “it has already come to his knowledge about the donation ahead of time.”
On Nov. 3, NCIA officers and various rice groups’ leaders will meet in Bicol to come up with a final assessment of their free rice program.
“We will start to do an accounting of the rice collection on Nov. 11,” the NCIA chief said.