By Tracy Cabrera
TAGCAWAYAN, QUEZON — Returning to his roots, Partido Reporma senatorial aspirant Guillermo Eleazar vowed to pursue as part of his legislative agenda push initiatives to strengthen and expand the agriculture sector in order to promote food security to millions of Filipinos, particularly the lowly farmers and fisherfolk who at times have been neglected because of the industrial trust and infrastructure focus of most of our economic managers.
The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief’s pronouncement came in the wake of an announcement issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA) concerning its plans to pursue an inclusive and holistic approach to accelerate the transformation of Philippine agriculture under the One DA Reform Agenda key strategies.
Last Tuesday in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, Agriculture Secretary William Dar took the lead in the distribution of the P159.6 million financial assistance and implementation of agri-fishery projects in the Caraga Administrative Region (Caraga) to help farmers, fishers, and local government units (LGUs).
“The agency envisions a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers. To do this, all programs and projects are aligned to the four pillars of the OneDA Reform Agenda: Modernization, Consolidation, Industrialization, and Professionalization will be in partnership with the LGUs,” Dar said during his visit to Caraga.
In this, Eleazar emphasized the vital role of LGUs in increasing productivity and profitability at the local level through agri-fishery extension services, stressing that as the agriculture department continues on its nationwide roll-out of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) Program, nationwide assistance must be provided to the agriculture sector to ensure food security.
“Dati ay hindi naman natin kailangang mag-import ng mga agriculture products at tayo pa ang nag-e-export sa ibang mga bansa dito sa Asya at maging sa Europe at Amerika. Ito ang dapat din nating pagtuunan ng pansin dahil mahalaga na nakakapag-produce tayo ng sarili nating pagkain para hindi tayo maging dependent sa importation,” he pointed out.
According to the retired police general, he plans to push for policies and programs that would enhance productivity in the countryside in order for us to have a steady food supply produced here and not imported.
“Kilala naman tayo bilang isang agricultural country at mayaman din tayo sa marine resources kaya kung talagang aasikasuhin nating mabuti ang pagpapalawig ng ating agriculture sector, makakamit natin ang inaasam nating katiwasayan na hindi umaasa sa pag-angkat mula sa ibang bansa n gating mga pangangailangan tulad ng bigas, asukal at isda at maging mga gulay,” he concluded. (ai/mtvn)