In an effort to promote food security in the country, Senator Bong Go backed proposals to convert idle government lands into agricultural areas to boost food production.
In an interview after aiding fire victims in Mandaluyong City, Go responded positively about plans of the Bureau of Corrections to use regional prisons and penal farms as food production centers.
“Bakit hindi kung malawak naman po at ilang ektarya naman ang area nila, bakit hindi… kung mapapakinabangan naman po ng farmers natin,” the legislator said.
The lawmaker noted that even in the Davao Penal Colony in Panabo City, Davao del Norte, there are agricultural lots used for food production.
Although only a small portion of the area is occupied by the penal colony, the senator said that the surrounding land can be used for growing crops.
“I think kahit sa Davao, sa Davao Penal Colony, may agricultural lots doon. Kaunti lang naman po ang portion na occupied by the penal colony,” he said.
“’Yung nasa paligid n’yan, kadalasan nandiyan na ang mga tanim. Pwede pong mag-produce ng agricultural products doon sa lugar,” Go added.
He then emphasized the importance of supporting local farmers, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet.
“Gusto ko po ang unang makinabang ay ang ating local farmers at sila ang kailangan talaga ng suporta ng gobyerno.”
“Gusto ko po ang unang makinabang ay ang ating local farmers at sila ang kailangan talaga ng suporta ng gobyerno, ‘yung mahihirap po, ‘yung mga isang kahig, isang tuka,” Go stressed.
BuCor has recently expressed its intent to contribute to the country’s food production security by utilizing modern farm tools and the persons deprived of liberty as farm workers.
Acting Director General of BuCor Gregorio Catapang, Jr. shared that the agency has identified a considerable amount of idle land in penal farms that can be used for agro and aquaculture sites to help the country achieve food security.
This is part of the agency’s five-year roadmap to ease congestion and modernize prison facilities in the country.
“Malaking bagay po ‘yun kaysa naman nakatiwangwang d’yan at walang tanim.”
Meanwhile, when asked whether other government agencies with large lands should follow BuCor’s lead, Go replied, “Opo, malaking bagay po ‘yun kaysa naman nakatiwangwang d’yan at walang tanim.”
“Kung mapakinabangan po hindi lang ng penal colony kundi ng ibang departamento po na may sariling properties na pwede namang pagtaniman, magamit po sa food production,” he stressed.
Citing the crucial role of farmers in ensuring food security, Go has been consistently pushing for stronger agricultural support systems and infrastructure.
He was one of the authors of the measure that became Republic Act No. 11901, expanding the agriculture, fisheries, and rural development financing system.
Go has also been advocating for other programs to support farmers and fisherfolks in the country, such as the enhancement of the irrigation of farmlands and expansion of the National Rice Program.
He also emphasized the importance of putting an end to agricultural smuggling which has a negative impact on the livelihoods of farmers all over the country.
Go recently voiced his support for efforts to strengthen the fight against smuggling by implementing plans to modernize and digitalize the Bureau of Customs.