46th PBC to gov’t: Turn idle lands, urban parks into vege farms for the poor

Published October 8, 2020, 9:33 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The 46th Philippine Business Conference (PBC) has approved three resolutions including converting idle lands and parks in urban cities into vegetable plots for the unemployed and marginalized to ensure continuous food supply in the country and help ease poverty during this pandemic.  

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/pcciofficial

Food security was listed as the third 46th PBC Resolution that will be presented to President Duterte at the closing today  (Oct. 8) of the two-day PBC & Expo. It has been customary at the annual PBC to craft resolutions for submission to the President at the end of the conference where the President is also given the chance to address the business recommendations.

“The Department of Agriculture, local government units and barangays must ensure an adequate and continuous food supply by supporting and promoting urban-farming and to turn idle lands and parks into vegetable plots to be tilled by the unemployed and marginalized members particularly the beneficiaries of 4Ps program,” stated the PBC Resolution.

The country’s biggest business gathering would like the government to provide agriculture and aquaculture sectors with input subsidies and access to research and development and technologies.

Align with this is for the DA to provide technical and financial support and stable supply of raw materials to agricultural workers to improve their production outs and to provide a buffer zone where farmers can bring their harvests for all seasons to be processed into long shelf-life finished goods.

 Also, the DA was asked to earmark at least 40 percent of Agri-Agra credit facilities for business startups and support for local enterprises that complement fishers’ income. The DA must also engage the Department of Science and Technology and other academe institutions to focus on plant-based feeds, better protection from diseases, and better ecological fits and adaptation to Philippine coastal and upland ecosystem.

 In addition, the DA must prioritize the development of strategic areas with broader availability of raw materials to modernize agriculture and encourage LGUs in the rural areas in purchasing agricultural products from the local farms and fisher folks.

 The first two 46TH PBC Resolutions focused on fiscal and non-fiscal support to businesses and improvement of internet and affordable connectivity and ease of doing business issues.

 The first 46th PBC Resolution has urged the National Government to provide longer-term fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to ensure the revival and recovery of businesses to continue providing employment.

 Under this resolution, the PBC said the Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Bankers Association of the Philippines and the Department of Trade and Industry should adopt financial measures that will directly address the critical financial situation of micro, small and medium enterprises caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

The second 46TH PBC has urged the National Government to accelerate the automation and digitalization of government procedures, provide incentives for companies to digitize, automate and undertake programs to upskill and reskill their human resources.

 This means, the Anti Red Tape Authority must monitor government agencies’ compliance with the Ease of Doing Business law. The Department of Information, Communications and Technology and National Telecommunications Commission must also exercise their oversight functions to prod providers to deliver better services and connectivity at an affordable price.

The DICT and NTC must also mandate the common use of facilities and impose appropriate sanctions for non-complying telcos.