SAN Pablo City – Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Saturday unveiled his “Food Production Strategic Plan” that will guide him in reinforcing the country’s food security under his presidency.
“Because food security is extremely important and we are not producing enough food for the most basic needs of our people. We must, starting 2022, have a Food Production Strategic Plan, which will be the guide for the budget of all departments and other agencies directly involved in food production,” Moreno said in a town hall meeting here attended by Laguna coconut farmers and their families.
Moreno was referring to the Department of Agriculture, his proposed Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Department of Agrarian Reform and other agencies related to food production and distribution.
“Kasi ngayon, kada isang taon, pabagu-bago ang suporta sa agrikultura. Kailangan may food production plan. Kailangan may direksyon ang pag-tosgas (gastos) ng pamahalaan. At ito ang paghuhugutan ng five-year medium-term spending bilang suporta sa food production,” Moreno explained.
The Aksyon Demokratiko presidential bet also said the five-year plan must involve the different major stakeholders in food production, so that their problems and solutions are properly taken into consideration in crafting the food production strategy.
“Hindi na pwede yung panaka-nakang mga interventions, tulad nangyari sa hog industry. Hindi naagapan ang pagpasok ng African Swine Fever; nalugmok ang mga magba-baboy, lalo na yung mga backyard hog raisers. Resulta nito, tumaas ng todo-todo ang presyo ng karne ng baboy. Tapos importasyon na naman ang madaliang solusyon,” Moreno pointed out.
“In short, there must be a directional strategy, supported by farmers, food processors, lahat ng kaukulang sektor, at dito naka-base ang budget ng pamahalaan bilang tulong sa magsasaka, mangingisda, tungo sa food security ng ating bansa,” Moreno said.
The 47-year-old local chief executive’s proposals were among those he put forward during Friday’s live Zoom discussion-meeting with the agricultural sector led by Former Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor and former Undersecretary Ernesto Ordonez of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Part of Moreno’s food production program is the imposition of a three-year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands into other uses and the passage of the National Land Use Act (NLUA) that will ensure food security for the country.
If elected president next year, Moreno said he will immediately sign an executive order that will stop the rampant and unchecked conversion of prime agricultural lands into other uses, such as in many cases, subdivisions, to protect the remaining agricultural lands in the country, and protect and ensure the welfare of farmers.
The proposed NLUA creates a national land-use authority that will draft and oversee a national land-use plan that will classify land according to use: protection (for conservation), production (for agriculture and fisheries), settlements development (for residential purposes), and infrastructure development (for transportation, communication, water resources, social infrastructure).
It seeks to establish clear parameters on land utilization and thus limit the capacity of developers to find land for their housing and commercial projects.
Many farmers’ groups have attributed this declining production area to reclassification of agricultural lands for the development of subdivisions and other commercial ventures.
“I’m all for development, but not if it sacrifices our goals to food sufficiency. We must ensure that agricultural lands should stay as agricultural lands,” said Moreno.
Moreno said his Aksyon Demokratiko team hopes to continue their dialogs “with as many people as we can, in as many places as we can” so that they will learn the real situation of rural folks and come up with distinct solutions to the people’s problems.
On Saturday, Moreno, his running mate Dr. Willie Ong and Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial slate Dr. Carl Balita, Samira Gutoc and Jopet Sison were in San Pablo City, Laguna and the towns of Candelaria and Tiaong in Quezon province as part of their “Listening Tour.”
Since October, Moreno’s listening tour brought his team to various provinces including Batangas, Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Vizcaya, Cebu, Bataan, Zambales, Oriental Mindoro, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal.