Nagbabala si Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman sa gitna ng plano ng Department of Agriculture na muling buhayin ang “Masagana 99.”
Ang naturang porgrama ay unang inilunsad sa panahon ni dating Pangulo Ferdinand Marcos Sr. noong 1973 na layong palakasin ang produksyon ng palay bilang solusyon sa rice shortage noong 1972.
“My manifestation is about the queries and answers on the ill-advised resurrection from the grave of Masagana 99 and Kadiwa,” ani Lagman sa deliberasyon ng plenaryo ng Kamara sa 2023 budget ng Department of Agriculture.
“I hope these empirical reports and findings will help my colleagues and the officials of the DA on why the Masagana 99 and Kadiwa ultimately miserably failed. Let not history repeat itself,” dagdag pa niya.
Sa ilalim ng Masagana 99, itinaas ang rice harvest nang hanggang 99 cavans per hectare o 4.4 tonelada ng palay sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng modernong irigasyon, imprastraktura at iba pang teknolohiya.
Sa simula, aniya, maganda ang kinalabasan ng programa, pero mas marami ang naging long-term na negatibong epekto nito para sa mga magsasaka, sektor ng agrikultura, kalikasan at ekonomiya.
“A thorough look at the much-hyped Masagana 99 showed that for a brief time after it was launched, the Philippines did become a rice-exporting country—barely. But data and studies show that this point of pride for the Marcoses and their supporters was not solely attributable to the Masagana 99 credit program,” ani Lagman.
“Moreover, this ‘success’ came at a significant cost, not only to the government, but also to the farmers that the program was supposed to help. Masagana 99 also had an adverse impact on the environment brought about by its dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides,” pagdidiin niya.
Sa halip na makatulong, lalo pa aniyang naghirap at nabaon sa utang ang mga magsasaka.
“Farmer-borrowers were defaulting not only because of production shortfalls caused by the various natural disasters affecting Philippine agriculture in the 1970s and the 1980s, but also because the government was not prudently regulating the loans and providing sufficient mechanisms and inducements for repayment. M-99 became, more or less, a massive dole-out program,” inilahad ni Lagman.
Binigyang-diin ng mambabatas ang 2012 na pag-aaral ng state-funded na Philippine Institute for Development Studies kung saan lumabas na bigo ang Masagana 99 na tulungan ang mga magsasaka. 800 rural banks din noon ang nalugi at nagsara dahil sa programa.