Agricultural lands used for growing crops should not be converted to subdivisions.
This was Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s response to concerns on land development in a virtual meeting with farmer groups on Monday (Sept. 13).
Domagoso told farmers from organizations belonging to the Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives (FFFC) that he is “all for development,” but not at the expense of the production of food supply for the country.
“It defeats the purpose of these lands. Ideally, we should make sure na ‘yung land na ‘yun, ‘pag ginagamit sa crops (that the land used for crops), should stay as (land for) crops,” the Manila chief executive said.
The mayor said the lands can be “utilized for development” only if it’s not being used at all.
“That’s the direction at ‘yung ginawa natin dito (and that’s what we will do), we protect the heritage whatever is left but those underutilized properties should be developed,” Domagoso said.
The mayor also commented on the idea of farmer groups and local governments forging partnerships to improve the state of the country’s food producers.
Domagoso said food security and self-sufficiency should be among the priorities of the country amid the pandemic’s impact on the economy.
“If you don’t produce your own food, you will be dependent on the world prices. You don’t put your country in the hands of other organizations outside of your country,” Domagoso said.
“You have to produce your corn, chicken, egg, meat, and vegetables. You really have to produce your own. I’m a believer that food must be available and accessible and any country should produce at least enough to feed its people,” he added.
Domagoso also said that importing products “doesn’t make sense” if the demand is not huge and if local produce is enough to address the people’s needs.
Present in the virtual meeting were former Philippine Agriculture Secretary Leonardo “Leony” Montemayor, Greenpeace Philippines, Magsasaka Partylist , Katarungan Para sa Usaping Agraryo, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (PROPORK), Ice Watch Action Network (R1), and Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), and many others.