PULILAN, Bulacan – Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Thursday vowed that if elected president, his administration will provide full support and protection to Filipino farmers and other food producers to uplift their lives and ensure food security.
Moreno made the assurance in a media interview here as Team Isko embarked on a motorcade in the Central Luzon province that has an extensive agriculture and aquaculture sector, as well as major piggery and poultry industries.
“It’s more on food security. Bulacan piggeries and poultry, as well as farms, kailangan patuloy na mabigyang diin ito ng pamahalaang nasyonal. Kailangang maproteksyunan yung mga karne, alagang baboy at manok, mga pagkain na produkto rin ng Bulacan at mga palay,” he said.
Moreno said government protection will extend to all farmers and food producers, pointing to the plight of Nueva Ecija onion farmers who were forced to throw away their harvested onions due to low farmgate prices.
The problem is exacerbated by the lack of cold storage for farmers to store their excess onions, and cannot also bring their products to the market because of the high transport fare.
The 47-year-old presidential candidate pointed out that the Philippines is endowed with fertile lands that if utilized properly can sustain food security for the country. The problem, however, is that farmers are quitting due to the lack of support and protection from the national government.
“Kaya pala nating pakainin ang ating kababayang Pilipino dahil sa dami ng lupa na pwedeng pagtaniman ng makakain ng ating mga kababayan. It’s just that marami sa ating mga magsasaka, mukhang napagod na o tumigil na sa pagsasaka. Dahil siguro sa maraming bagay: pagkalugi, o malamang hindi nabebenta yung kanillang produkto sa tamang presyo,” Moreno noted.
Agriculture is one of the main pillars of Moreno’s 10-point Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda, which will be his administration’s guiding principles to accelerate human and economic growth if elected president.
Moreno aims to raise the income of farmers to the level of average Filipino workers by providing them with risk-free capital; building more irrigation systems while improving the efficiency of existing ones; and establishing post-harvest facilities and cold storage facilities across the country and in major production areas.
The Manila City mayor would also issue clear guidelines on the strict importation of agricultural products to make sure that local producers can sell their products first before importation is made and clamp down on smuggling of agricultural products to protect the interests of local producers.
To ensure farmers of their income, a Moreno administration will also buy the surplus produce of farmers at the right price to avoid the pitiful state of affairs now being experienced by Nueva Ecija onion farmers.
Furthermore, he vowed that government will see to it that the cost of agricultural production will be brought down to further ensure farmers of their income. This would be achieved by cutting the excise tax of petroleum products by 50% to bring down the cost of diesel and fertilizer.
“In our case, mauna diyan, siyempre yung tao muna, yung magsasaka natin. Dahil ang konsepto ng ‘Life and Livelihood’ namin ni Doc Willie (Ong) is magkaroon tayo ng job opportunity, trabaho. Second yung pagkain, yung food security,” Moreno said.