Senator Bong Go reissued his call for the government to prioritize the welfare of small farmers and agricultural workers as he emphasized the need to eliminate agricultural smuggling, which has adverse impacts on the livelihoods of Filipino farmers nationwide.
This after farmers’ organization Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura has earlier reported that there are currently 20 agriproduct smugglers active in the country, importing white and red onions, rice, and frozen meat products illegally.
“Ang apela ko po sa (Bureau of) Customs, Department of Agriculture, executive department, unahin n’yo po ang kapakanan ng local farmers,” Go said in interview after personally aiding struggling residents in Pandi, Bulacan recently.
“Hulihin nyo po ang mga smuggler, panagutin, kasuhan.”
“Hulihin n’yo po ang mga smuggler, panagutin, kasuhan. Hindi lang kasuhan, ikulong po kung dapat ikulong,” the legislator added.
The lawmaker pleaded for swift legal action in the event of any wrongdoing, so that those responsible could be brought to justice and punished.
“Dapat ikulong ‘yung mga nananamantala at proteksyunan natin ang kapakanan ng ating local farmers,” the senator stressed.
“Kasi kapag naproteksyunan natin ang local farmers, dalawa po ‘yan. Ibig sabihin natulungan natin sila, nabigyan natin ng hanapbuhay, trabaho at may laman po ang kanilang tiyan,” he added.
Go then reminded the government once again to look out for the interests of Filipino farmers, who had it rough even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
He urged his fellow public officials to take action to prevent harm to local farmers by thwarting the illegal importation of food and other agricultural products.
“Huwag po nating pabayaan na lumusot itong mga smuggler dahil itong mga smuggler na ito, mayayaman naman itong mga ito at nakikinabang po ang mayayaman at hindi ang mahihirap,” Go stressed.
“Unahin natin ang kapakanan ng mahihirap, local farmers po ang tulungan natin.”
“Hulihin po ang mga smuggler. Unahin natin ang kapakanan ng mahihirap, local farmers po ang tulungan natin,” he reiterated.
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.