Aquino’s neglect of agri sector dooms our farmers to suffer more in the AEC

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ONE of the great sins of President BS Aquino and his people is their neglect of the agricultural sector.

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Like so many promises he made to the people during the time when he was campaigning for the presidency in 2010 and in the first months of his presidency, this mendacious president broke his promise to make Agriculture “always a top priority” of his Administration.

In December 2011, BSAquino said in Tagalog at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall where he and Agricultural Secretary Proceso Alcala gave the Gawad Saka awards to deluded farmers and fisherfolks, “Mananatili pong prayoridad ng gobyerno ang pagpapalakas ng agrikultura na alam nating manganganak naman ng pagsulong ng kalakhang ekonomiya sa kanayunan.” [It will always be a priority of the government to boost (or enhance, or strengthen) agriculture which we know will in turn bear the fruit of progress of the larger general economy of the countryside.]

Secretary Alcala in Febaruary 2015 crowed about Philippine agricultural growth continuing throughout the year and beyond. He said his department would “vigorously pursue rural infrastructure and technology build-up that will further develop and modernize the agricultural economy.” All of this has turned out to be nothing more than the good secretary breaking wind.

Recently, the Philippine Statistics Authority released figures showing that while growth in the services sector (BPOs and call centers) slowed in 2015, the Agriculture sector contracted.

Angry farmers speak out
This development validates the complaints on the ground by farmers throughout the country. An example of angry and bitter farmers are the members of the Samahan ng Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag). They have berated BS Aquino for not fulfilling the promises he made to the agricultural sector in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2010. They angrily noted that Agriculture was not even discussed in the 2015 SONA.

Sinag chairman Rosendo So was reported to have asked, “Nasaan na ang sinasabing rice self-sufficiency, food security, agricultural modernization and anti-smuggling efforts ng previous SONAs of the President? (Where are the so-called rice self-sufficiency, food security, agricultural modernization and anti-smuggling efforts in the previous SONAS?]. Ngayon, tila nakalimutan na ang mga magbubukid sa tinaguriang daang matuwid ng Pangulo. (It seems that now the so-called Straight Path of the President has forgotten us farmers.)”

The people of the agriculture sector, Rosendo So said, were hoping that the President would stopped “the wanton importation and the worsening smuggling of agricultural commodities that deprived the national government of almost P9 billion in lost revenues.”

The Sinag leader said “instead of pushing for increased rice productivity and food self-sufficiency, the Aquino Administration even seemingly gave its tacit approval for smuggling to continue. “Government’s own statistics should have sounded the alarm bells for this administration. From an employment figure of 12.04 million people for the sector at the end of 2009, agriculture is now (2015) employing only 11.480 million,” said Sinag Chairman So.

If farmers are being killed by smuggling, they will be massacred by the Asean Economic Community that was born on New Year’s Eve, December 31.

Comprehensive package of support
We laud Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for calling for a “comprehensive package to help farmers cope with the effects of AEC.”

He correctly urged the government to provide a comprehensive program to help the country’s agricultural sector and farmers vulnerable to the influx of duty-free commodities into the country.

Marcos made the call because, as we stated earlier, the Asean Economic Community (AEC) formally came into force on December 31. Among other consequences of the birth of AEC, import duties have been removed across the borders of the 10-member countries of Asean– Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“We have seen the effects of unbridled importation and the smuggling of agriculture products such as rice, onions and garlic on our farmers. With the removal of tariff barriers our farmers may suffer more unless the government gets its act together to provide a comprehensive package of support,” Marcos warned.

Senator Marcos acknowledged that big farms producing export-oriented agriculture products may fare well with the AEC. But he warns the small farmers will be vulnerable particularly with the continuing decline of the entire agriculture sector.

He noted that the Philippine Statistics Authority has reported that agriculture declined by 0.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, mainly caused by poor palay, corn and sugarcane production which declined 15.7 percent, 1.7 percent and 41.5 percent respectively.

Senator Marcos said for the sake of the farmers, the government must pursue strategic infrastructure and technological programs to improve our transportation network, roads, ensure a reliable and cheaper supply of electricity and upgrade the country’s irrigation systems.

He had earlier called for free irrigation service to Filipino farmers as he also urged the National Irrigation Administration to condone the existing P12 billion debt of the farmers and irrigators’ groups.

Senator Marcos has also been lobbying for farmers to have better access to cheaper credit facilities, crop insurance coverage and technical support.

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8 Comments

  1. victor m. hernandez on

    It is sad and unfortunate, agriculture in a typhoon prone area is a very risky proposition. Infrastructure and technology can overcome this reality but the government failed to deliver the goods: irrigations, transport and roads, mechanization. The situation is aggravated by rampant smuggling of agricultural products. This government seems to be doing a lot of things to aggravate the situations not only in the agricultural sector, but even in the urban centers, e.g. turning EDSA into a huge parking lot during peak hours, which is practically all of one’s waking hours; trains that conked out every now and thenm or even rammed the trains against the wall. Nothing beats this one: two to three hours travel from Quezon City to Makati or Roxas Boulevard. But I guess it’s a matter of perspective when one considers the guy in Malacanang saying, this is progress! Talk of inclusive growth, beats me.

  2. Pnoy Aquino is the FAther of LIARS. Palagi na lang nyang binobola ang mga taong naloloko nya… dapat malagay ito sa guiness book of record. THE FATHER AND GREAT LIAR Person of the year 2015…
    He is really incompetent leader and brainless person…ZERO VOTE TO ALL HIS LIBERAL PARTY.. AND TO HIS ALLIES, BNAY, POE AND DIGONG…

  3. Brandogandanghari on

    Only the late President Marcos supported the farmers. He built world class mega dams like the Magat dam in Isabela and Pantabangan dam in Central Luzon for irrigation and power generation not just for the farmers but for the entire country. When Marcos built the NLEX, he had the farmers in mind. Instead of building the road on Pampanga farmers land, he built an aqueduct instead, the Candaba Aqueduct, a 5 kilometer long bridge along NLEX, so that the kapampangan farmer can still work in their land below the aqueduct while traffic is on the bridge, unlike in SCTEX. Marcos also made the Bureau of Plant Industries that distributed high yield crops like monggo which my father usually planted in our farmland when I was a kid. Marcos also made the Philippine Crop Protection Insurance Act. What a Good Leader. Sadly, this country hails traitors and false heroes, false flags like you know who.

  4. Eddie de Leon on

    This ought to warn our people not to elect Abnoy Aquino’s choice for president in the 2016 election. But what chance doe the good people inour country6 have against thge Smartmatic PCOS machines if all the safety features are not restored?

  5. The President is not a Superman. It is very obvious that the directions and efforts exerted are for the good of the country. The results are tangible. The people can see and feel it. We must remember that the success depends not solely from the leader but a very great part must come from the people.

    REPLY
    You must only be informed by readings supplied by the Aquino Admninistration and its conscript media–which are the top newspapers in the PPhilippies –but not the independent scholars, reporters and observers.

    • maybe you are the only one who can see and feel the progress of the country that you said was brought by boy sisi and his minions. what we see are the progress in their bank accounts thru pdaf and dap. with TRILLIONS as yearly budget there are no improvements whatsoever. where are the 12.000 km of roads that boy sisi bragged in his sona?? what about airports, the trains, highways??? do not say that the skyways being built here in metro manila are projects of boy sisi. these are financed by private entities and will be paid by us by toll fees. our TRILLION budget never financed these skyways.

    • I left the country about 35 years ago to seek opportunities abroad. I traveled and worked several places in the US and other foreign countries. Except for short visits one, of my last was 1987 when we bring my father’s remain for burial in the beloved country. Even at that time life and progress in the country is not uplifting. Abroad I had the opportunity to always work with some Filipinos who kept on migrating abroad and with other foreign nationals so I am aware of how life and progress the country is going. I have a very good view and experience how the country goes because I am updated. Last year was my 2 consecutive visits. It was a great change in many aspects-technically socially and politically . It was moving on the right direction but I can still see the negative attitudes that are distracting the country and hindering the progress. The results are tangible. You can see it, you can feel it, and you can read it. Compared to the previous administrations, the Philippines is doing very much better. It is no longer the “sick man” of Asia. It is rejuvenated and healthy. See the GDP, the foreign investments, the new-infrastructures, the foreign commitments, they are all highly positive. There are some setbacks but the plus side is very much encouraging. There are very strong initiatives to move fast forward and soar but it is up to the Filipinos to do their part. The leader will not be successful if the people are not doing their part. I have lived in a country where the people love their country. If you walk and throw your cigarette butt on the sidewalk the next person behind you will pick-up the thrash you throw and put it in the proper place.

  6. Rudy Liporada on

    Failure to improve the lives of peasants is the best recruiter for the New People’s Army. The Communist program states that the bulwark of the NPA are the poor peasants. Hala Kayo!