By Ernie Reyes
Photo courtesy of Research Leap
MANILA — A few days before the 19th Congress opens on July 25, Senator Cynthia A. Villar filed her priority bills to further accelerate the country’s agricultural growth, preserve and conserve the environment, and help Filipino entrepreneurs.
Villar will retain the chairmanship of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Food, and Environment and Natural Resources in the upcoming Congress. She led the same committees in the 18th Congress.
Her proposed measures, Villar asserted, would help boost the country’s food sustainability and sufficiency.
She also emphasized the country’s livestock industry is a major concern during this time. The livestock sector comprising cattle, hogs, poultry, and dairy should feed our people. It can reduce poverty in the countryside by giving raisers better income and jobs for farmers and their families.
She said the development can improve the availability and affordability of safe and nutritious livestock, poultry and dairy products for the 110 M Filipinos.
“The draft bill on livestock, and poultry, together with the Yellow Corn Development Bill were crafted with the help of the NEDA and in consultation with various stakeholders,” Villar said.
“The African Swine Fever which hit the industry in 2019 resulted in the culling of thousands of pigs, wiping out entire farms and growers which adversely affected the 260 Billion-peso swine industry of the country,” she added.
Even until now, Villar said ASF is slowly moving towards areas that were not previously declared as infested or “red zones”. Also, Avian influenza or bird flu continues to spread across the country as new outbreaks have been recorded in Luzon and Mindanao.
She spelled out her bills on agriculture as follows:
1- Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Development and Competitiveness Act of 2022;
2-Yellow Corn Industry Development Act of 2022;
3-Marine Hatchery in Baybay City, Province of Leyte;
4-Marine Hatchery in the Municipality of Talacogon, Province of Agusan Del Sur;
5-New Land Bank of the Philippines Act;
6- Philippine Fiber Industry Development Program of 2022;
7-Integrated Urban Agriculture Act of 2022;
8- Agriculture Information System Act;
9- National Farmers, Fisherfolks, and Agri-workers Day and
10- Anti-Ilegal Movement of Animals or Plants.
Her proposed measures related to the protection of our environmental and natural resources are as follows:
1-National Wetlands Conservation Act;
2-Revised Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act;
3-Integrated Coastal Management;
4- National Mangrove Forest Protection and Preservation;
5- Rainwater Harvesting Facility;
6- Paoay Lake Protected Landscape Act (Province of Ilocos Norte;
7- Taklong and Tandog Group of Islands Natural Park Act (Province of Guimaras);
8- Minalungao Protected Landscape Act (Province of Nueva Ecija) and
Villar said coastal environments which encompass different ecosystems such as shorelands, mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs, are among the most productive and biologically diverse landscapes known to man.
“Coastal and marine areas are vital sources of food, minerals, and raw materials while marine-related economic activities, including fisheries, marine transportation, tourism, coastal mining, and offshore oil and gas development make significant contributions to a country’s GDP as well as provide livelihood and employment opportunities to coastal communities,” related
She also filed two other bills- the Buy Pinoy, Build Pinoy Month and Small and Medium Enterprises Stock Exchange (SMEX).
Villar said the bill on Buy Pinoy, Build Pinoy Act aims to declare the month of November every year as “BUY PINOY, BUILD PINOY Month” to inculcate in every Filipino the wisdom of supporting our very own Filipino-made products and give recognize Filipino producers.
The SMEX bill, on the other hand, seeks to assist Small and Medium Enterprises in obtaining their financing requirements from the developing capital market in the country. (ai/mtvn)