A BINAY administration will focus on improving the agricultural sector in order to provide jobs and ad-dress widespread poverty, especially in rural areas.
Toward that end, Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday said his administration will concentrate on generating jobs in the 15 provinces with the most number of poor families, especially those with pov-erty incidence greater than 50 percent: Lanao del Sur (67.3 percent), Eastern Samar (55.4 percent), Apayao 54.7 (percent) and Maguindanao (54.5 percent).
The figures are from the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s 2012 Poverty Estimates.
The Vice President reiterated his emphasis on agriculture after the release of a National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) report that shows the agricultural sector only grew by 1.6 percent from 2011 to 2015.
“Economic growth is meaningless unless it provides jobs for our people, especially in the rural areas,” he said.
The agriculture sector’s growth during the Aquino administration is second to the last in ranking among past five Presidents.
“The agricultural sector had a very imperceptible growth last year at 0.2 percent. Agriculture, despite being the dominant sector, is the least productive under the administration,” Binay said.
He noted the need to revitalize agriculture and said his administration will strive to create a business environment that will attract investors in agriculture to generate more jobs.
According to Binay, his administration will create economic zones in key agricultural provinces, and train farmers to shift from subsistence farming to agribusiness.
He noted that the October 2015 Labor Force Survey released by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the Ilocos Region and Calabarzon with unemployment rates higher than the national average of 5.6 percent, at 8.5 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively.
Binay reiterated that competence and compassion in a leader are keys to fighting poverty and achiev-ing inclusive growth.
“My experience [as a former mayor of]Makati [City] has strengthened my conviction that poverty can be reduced, and real inclusive growth is attainable under a capable and experienced manager and ad-ministrator who understands the poor and can craft the right social and economic policies and can im-plement these policies,” he said.
“The stagnation of the agriculture sector and the Aquino administration’s continued neglect of this vi-tal sector is a serious cause for concern,” the Vice President added.