Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go manifested on Friday, Oct. 16, his full support to the budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA), its banner programs, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
“The Department of Agriculture’s 2021 budget thrust, priorities, and strategies support the vision of “a food secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk,’’ Go, chairman of the Senate health committee, said.
“I trust the department to stay true to its vision and continue their efforts in providing reprieve to our less fortunate farmers and fisherfolk and ensure production, availability, accessibility and affordability, price stability, sustainability, and food safety,’’ he added.
“I laud the swift response of the DA (headed by Secretary William Dar) to address the dismal effects of the ongoing pandemic. The Department provided financial subsidy to more than 530,000 rice farmers. They have released and continue to release zero-interest loans to marginalized small farmers and fisherfolk, and agri-based micro and small enterprises. In addition, they have extended support services, education, training, and agricultural equipment and facilities to our poverty-stricken farmers and fisherfolk. The help they provided, in turn, safeguarded our nation’s food security which is vital for each and everyone’s sustenance,’’ he added.
Go, a former Special Assistant to President Duterte, said the passage of Bayanihan 2 Act has also empowered the Department to further its efforts in assisting our farmers and fisherfolk during these trying times.
The Bayanihan 2 directed the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to prioritize agri-fishery businesses, agriculture cooperatives, farmers, fisherfolk and other agricultural workers in the provision of low interest and flexible loans.
In addition, appropriations and standby fund of P24 billion was allocated to assist our agricultural sector.
“I call on the Department to safeguard and spend this appropriation judiciously. Kailangan unahin po natin ang pinakamahihirap na magsasaka. ‘Wag po natin silang hayaang magutom. Bigyan po natin sila ng lahat ng kailangan nila para makabangon muli,’’ he added. (The poor farmers must be given preference. Let us not allow them to go hungry. We should give them all the help so that they could stand up on their own two feet.)
“Nakikita ko po sa mga social media ‘yung mga naghihirap nating mga kababayang magsasaka. Ang mga magsasaka at mga mangingisda po natin ay maituturing rin na mga importanteng frontliners ng ating bansa. Kung wala po sila, wala po tayong makakain sa araw-araw. Kung kaya’t nakikiusap po ako sa inyo na gamitin ang budget ng maayos up to the last centavo (Through social media, I see how our farmers are suffering. We consider the farmers and fisherfolk as our frontliners. Without them, we don’t eat every day. That is why I an appealing to you to use your budget correctly to the last centavo),” he said.