By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — With the August inflation rate rising to 4.9 percent, the
highest since January 2019, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
reiterates that his Sagip Saka Act will help stabilize food prices
especially amid the pandemic.
“Ngayong mataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin, kailangan na nating
paigtingin pa ang pagpapatupad ng Sagip Saka Act para makatulong sa
pagbaba ng presyo ng mga pagkain (With the rise in prices, the Sagip
Saka Act must be implemented more determinedly to help lower the price
of food),” Pangilinan said after the Philippine Statistics Authority
on Tuesday released the August inflation rate.
At this morning’s Senate budget briefing by the government economic
team, Pangilinan pointed out that as job losses in agriculture
constitute the biggest job loss last year, the Sagip Saka Act will
also help address employment.
Signed into law in April 2019, Sagip Saka Act mandates local
government units and national and local government agencies to buy
directly from accredited farmers and fisher-folk cooperatives.
This way, Pangilinan said the process could do away with the use of
middlemen, thus giving farmers and fishermen bigger incomes while
making agricultural products more affordable for consumers.
“Apektado rin ng pandemya ang ating mga magsasaka. Pero kung kikita
sila dahil sa kanila bibili at hindi sa mga dayuhang magsasaka ang
ating gobyerno, mas ma-e-engganyo silang magsaka pa. Pag marami silang
ani, mas marami silang benta sa mas mura ang presyo (Our food
producers are also affected by the pandemic. But if they earn because
our government buys from them instead of from foreigners, they will be
more encouraged to farm. If they have a lot of harvest, they will be
able to sell more at lower prices). Everybody happy,” he said.
“Sa tulong ng batas na ito, bababa rin ang presyo ng pagkain, lalaki
kita ng mga magsasaka at masisiguro ang sapat na supply ng pagkain sa
bansa, na lubhang napakahalaga ngayong pandemya (With the help of this
law, food prices will go down, farmers’ income will go up, and the
country’s food supply will be ensured — which are important in this
pandemic),” he pointed out.
Since the law’s passage, a total of 443 LGUs have purchased
agricultural products directly from farmers and fisherfolk as of
November 30, 2020.
Citing government data, Pangilinan said food purchase using the direct
purchase feature of Sagip Saka increased from P2.592 billion in July
2020 to P2.737 billion in November 2020. (ai/mtvn)