Go extols role of farmers in economic recovery

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go today reiterated the Duterte administration’s continued prioritization of the welfare of ordinary Filipinos, particularly those belonging to the poor and vulnerable sectors.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (OFFICE OF SEN. BONG GO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Just last Tuesday the Department of Agrarian Reform distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award to the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries from the municipalities of Arakan and President Roxas in a ceremony led by DAR Secretary John Castriciones in Arakan, North Cotabato.

“Alam ng gobyerno ang mahalagang papel ng mga magsasaka sa pagpapalakas sa ating bansa kaya naman makakaasa kayo na patuloy na ipaglalaban namin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte at ng gobyerno ang inyong mga karapatan upang malaya ninyong…payamanin ang lupaing inyong sinasaka,’’ Go said in a video message. (The government knows the important role of the farmers in strengthening our country and rest assured that President Duterte, me and the government will continue to fight for your rights so you could enrich the lands you’re tilling.)

Nearly 4,500 hectares of land previously owned by the University of Southern Mindanao and Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology were distributed to some 3,035 beneficiaries.

“Suportahan po natin ang ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda. Tulungan natin silang malampasan ang paghihirap na dulot ng pandemya dahil ang sektor na ito ang bubuhay sa ating bansa pagkatapos ng krisis na ito,’’ Go added. (Let’s support our farmers and fisherfolks. We will help them overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic because this sector will make the country alive after this crisis.)

He also emphasized that rural development in the country could be achieved if those in the agricultural sector are given more economic opportunities and their rights to own lands are further promoted and protected.

Go also commended the efforts of the DAR - Regional Office 12 for successfully completing its distribution of agricultural lands, including unused government-owned lands, within its jurisdictions as mandated under Presidential Proclamation No. 428, Series of 1957.

“I would like to thank the Department of Agrarian Reform, most especially DAR Region 12, under the leadership of Regional Director Marion Abella, and its Cotabato Provincial Office for fulfilling its mandate to distribute agricultural lands to our kababayan,” he said.

Masks and food packs donated by Go’s office were distributed to the beneficiaries as well. In addition, select awardees received bicycles to help them travel given the limited public transportation options caused by the ongoing health crisis.

He noted the potential of the agriculture sector to provide better livelihood and job opportunities to Filipinos and boost the economy amid the adverse impact of COVID-19.

This, he said, is in line with the objectives of the government’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program as a means to accelerate countryside development, in addition to decongesting Metro Manila.

Go also encouraged the DAR to push for the transformation of the agricultural sector into an agro-industry which would be in line with the Philippine Rural Development Program’s aim to develop a modern, climate-smart, and market-oriented agri-fishery sector.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July, President Duterte stressed the importance of agriculture and urged for the passage of an agricultural stimulus package that will help the agriculture and fisheries sector recover.

Now, under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, a total of P24 billion has been allocated to provide direct cash or loan interest rate subsidies under the programs of the Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) and other forms of assistance to qualified agri-fishery enterprises, farmers and fisherfolk, and agriculture cooperatives, and to finance the Plant, Plant, Plant Program, in order to ensure food security and continuous productivity in the agricultural sector, including accessibility through farm to market roads.