• Rural-urban migration threatens food security

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    LEGAZPI CITY: By 2030 key cities in Asia will be having a runaway population growth that threatens food security of Asian countries, more so in the Philippines, Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras said.

    “By 2030 they estimate that there are hyper growths in the cities of Asia because people from the countryside will be migrating to the key cities. This is not good because if the people will be staying in key cities, all of us will be suffer famine because no one will plant to feed the people,” Almendras told the academe, law enforcers, mayors and media men attending the launch of Master in Rural Development and Diploma in Local Government Management courses held at Bicol University of Legazpi Amphitheatre.

    With the looming food supply debacle in the country in the next decades, Almendras reiterated the need to develop the countryside to provide rural employment.

    “We have to do something for agriculture because rural employment is very crucial in Philippines. We need to work together to push rural development as this is the only key to feed the nation,” he said.

    Rural development according to Almendras does not only fix rural location but promote better livelihood, tourism and community development.

    “Gov. Joey Salceda always reminds the President to invest in rural development. The President is putting more money to infrastructure development as we’re really pushing countryside development and agriculture growth that’s why we’re constructing more airports and bridges throughout the country,” the Malacañang official said.

    The Aquino administration will also increase infrastructure spending from 2.4 percent in 2012 to 5 percent of gross domestic product starting in 2014, he said.

    The President according to Almendras recently approved the P27-billion funding for a new circumferential highway for Southern Luzon that can touch off rural and tourism development in Bicol.

    He explained that, the idea of rural development is to bring the resources to the grassroots to generate jobs in partnership with the private sector and for government to put up more infrastructures to encourage businessmen to put up more business in the countryside.

    The Philippines should take advantage of the situation since by 2017 the productivity years of Filipinos (18 to 60 years) would be younger compared to Japan and Europe whose populations are almost aging.

    “We can take advantage of this position. The world finally sees us as investment haven because our population is very young and within the productive demographic stage compared to other countries like Japan and Europe. We will be having more profit in agriculture, that’s why the next President should follow or sustain the growth for the next two decades,” Almendras said.

    “We need the support of all LGUs and the Filipinos for us to work together for rural development through rural governance to attain economic growth,” he said.

    Fay Lea Patria Lauraya, Bicol University of Legazpi president, for her part, said that the country’s growth is in the hands of the Filipino people through the so-called bakas way, which means to put shares together.

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