Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer Isko Moreno on Sunday wrapped up a three-day sortie of the Cagayan Valley region and Kalinga province by committing to protect the welfare and livelihood of farmers should he be elected to the highest post in the land.
Speaking to residents and farmers in Tabuk, the presidential aspirant, who as a teenager worked as a farmhand for 75 pesos a day, vowed to crack down on smugglers of rice, garlic, onion, and vegetables, as well as review legislation that has negatively impacted the incomes of farmers.
“If food security is the number one threat to national security, then the country and the state must invest in our Filipino farmers. And if we can uplift our farmers’ lives, we will make a massive stride towards eradicating poverty.”
“So, that’s why here in Kalinga, I made a commitment kanina na iparerebisa ko yung Rice Tariffication Law. At habang ginagawa yung batas because it will take time na maipasa yung batas, baka naman mamaya wala nang magtatanim kasi luging-lugi na (mga magsasaka),” said Moreno.
“So, bilang estado, meron naman tayong kapangyarihan doon sa qualitative portion; ibig sabihin pahihirapan natin na mag-import nang mag-import na walang pakundangan kundi doon tayo, gagamitin natin yung kakayanan natin bilang estado sa quality ng mga produktong imported na ito so doon, dadaan sila sa butas ng karayom,” he explained.
The Manila mayor stressed that agricultural products would be one of the priorities of government anti-smuggling efforts under a Moreno administration.
Moreno assured farmers that “madadamay na rin yan doon sa ating anti-smuggling campaign para sa iba pang mga produktong pang-agrikultura nang mapangalagaan naman at mabigyan, at least mapanatag yung mga nagtatanim o nag-aalaga ng hayop na yung kanilang pinaghihirapan eh mapakinabangan ng kani-kanilang pamilya.”
“Kaya nga ngayon over supply, there is a balance on everything. Kasi kung may magandang demand, matutuwa naman yung ating mga magsasaka eh ang problema wala ngang demand so binabarat sila ngayon kasi umaapaw yung bigas sa Pilipinas. O ngayon susunod siyasatin ninyo yung sibuyas naman ang tatamaan sa Nueva Ecija so sinasabi natin dapat there is balance on everything, maganda ang intensyon pero pagdating sa implementasyon baka naman naaabuso na ng ilang indibidwal lamang, at sila lamang ang nakikinabang.”
“If we can uplift our farmers’ lives, we will make a massive stride towards eradicating poverty.”
Agriculture is one of the main pillars of Moreno’s 10-point Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda, as he has repeatedly emphasized the importance of food security and improving the livelihoods of farmers.
“If food security is the number one threat to national security, then the country and the state must invest in our Filipino farmers. And if we can uplift our farmers’ lives, we will make a massive stride towards eradicating poverty,” explained Moreno, who worked in farms when he was a teenager.
In a visit to Pilar, Bataan last November, Moreno narrated how he would earn 75 pesos a day helping farmers in the area.
“Dito ko nagsisipok ng palay noong 11 hanggang 14 anyos ako. Malaki na sa kin ang 75 piso kada araw na sweldo. Pero sobrang kati sa kamay at braso ng palay. But I am thankful that I was able to earn money more than I earn from collecting garbage in Manila.”