MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. underscored on Saturday the importance of investing in the development, productivity, and modernization of the country’s agricultural sector.

In a speech delivered by Presidential Assistant for Northern Luzon Assistant Secretary Ana Carmela Remigio during the 36th Cordillera Day Commemoration, Marcos said it is important to prioritize and push for the development of agricultural land as it will provide not only crops to the farmers but will create multiple effects on the entire country.

“As President and concurrent Agriculture Secretary, I am relentlessly pushing and prioritizing the development of our agricultural lands. I cannot emphasize it enough, but we really need to invest in the development, productivity, and modernization of our agricultural sector,” said Marcos, who was not able to attend the ceremony due to bad weather.

“By building infrastructure and improving market linkages of our farmers, our farmlands will yield not only crops, but also opportunities that create ripples of positive effects throughout our nation.”

He urged the people to continue supporting the government’s pursuit of providing a better, brighter and more productive life for everyone as he emphasized that his administration will continue finding ways to provide them quality life.

The chief executive also honored the many wins of the Cordillerans and the challenges that they have prevailed upon through the years as he urged them to celebrate with pride and vigor the solidarity, dynamism and camaraderie among themselves.

“Please allow me to take this opportunity to once again express my utmost gratitude for the overwhelming support you gave me during last year’s national elections. The trust that you have given motivates me to keep going and serve you with passion, strength, and purpose,” the President said.

Citing the achievements of the Cordillerans, President Marcos urged the residents to continue supporting the government’s efforts in improving and uplifting their lives through various projects including the laying down of fiber optic cables to improve communications and access to the internet.

He asked for support for the programs of the Regional Development Council – Cordillera Administrative Region (RDC-CAR), which are geared towards inclusive development without destroying the region’s natural heritage.

“The Cordilleras’ potential in terms of hydropower, irrigation and agriculture is vast and should continue to be tapped for the benefit of all,” the President said.

President Marcos assured the Cordillerans of the administration’s commitment to work for the region’s progress.

Apayao Governor and RDC-CAR chair Elias Bulut Jr. said the President wanted to come and attend the celebration but the weather was beyond his control.

Bulut said that while many were disappointed, they are counting on the President’s support for Cordillera’s clamor for autonomy.

“We will ask for an audience with him after the State of the Nation Address and explain to him further about the clamor and the importance that the region is converted to an autonomous status and we know he will understand what we are desiring for our people,” Bulut said.

The Cordillerans are celebrating their anniversary since Executive Order 220 was issued in 1987 creating the CAR. (With a report from Liza T. Agoot/PNA/PND)