Bong Go

Bong Go: Prioritize welfare of small agri workers

April 23, 2022 People's Journal 138 views

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go renewed his appeal to the government to prioritize the welfare of small agricultural workers and stressed the need to eradicate smuggling of agricultural products into the country, which has been adversely affecting the livelihoods of Filipino farmers nationwide.

In an ambush interview after his visit to fire victims in Barangay Baesa, Quezon City, Go strongly urged the concerned agencies to closely safeguard the interests of Filipino agricultural workers, noting that according to the League of Associations at La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Areas, farmers are losing about PhP2.5 million a day following a 40% decline in orders due to the influx of smuggled vegetables in the market.

Earlier this month, Senate President Vicente Sotto III named some of the high-profile personalities that are allegedly involved in the agricultural smuggling during the Committee of the Whole hearing on the matter, and requested the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) to have them verified.

“Karapatan po ng mga kababayan nating malaman ang katotohanan, kung totoo talaga ito. Kung sino itong mga involved sa smuggling, eh ilabas na kaagad, at managot at kasuhan. Ayaw naman nating merong nananamantala sa sitwasyon,” Go emphasized.

Senator Go then reiterated his appeal to the Department of Agriculture to focus on uplifting the lives of Filipino farmers, stressing that the government should better promote local produce than imported goods.

“Ako ay nananawagan sa DA, kay Sec. William Dar na unahin ‘yung kapakanan ng mga maliliit na magsasaka, mga farmers natin. Kung hindi naman po kailangan na mag-import sa ngayon eh huwag muna kayong mag-import,” the senator urged.

“Always interest po ng mga maliliit na magsasaka ang dapat unahin ng ating gobyerno… Kahit na legitimate naman yung kanilang importation, unahin pa rin po dapat yung mga maliliit,” he added.

In line with the Duterte Administration’s anti-corruption campaign, Senator Go likewise reassured that President Rodrigo Duterte likewise condemns any form of smuggling and illegal entry of products in the country.

The senator lamented that failure to curb smuggling is a great disservice to all the Filipino farmers who have been toiling hard even amid the pandemic for the country’s food security. Go emphasized that if proven guilty, those involved in the agri smuggling should be held accountable.

“Kilala ko naman si Pangulo. Basta totoo lang at mapatunayan na kasangkot eh mananagot po ito. Kasuhan, dapat makulong. Kakailanganin po lalung-lalo na po yung mga nananamantala sa sitwasyon na naghihirap ang ating bayan. Sa ngayon, nasa krisis pa tayo, tapos meron pang nananamantala na mga smuggler. Dapat managot po,” Go stressed.

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