Presidential aspirant and Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, Nov. 18, said she plans to pour investments in “blue” industries if she wins the presidency, adding that the country can become “a leading maritime power.”
Blue industries refer to shipbuilding, aquaculture, and maritime transport.
“Combined with our strategic location, we have the potential to become a leading maritime power. This sector has huge employment potential in the country, and this is something that our government will really tap into,” she said during the question-and-answer segment of the Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) Presidentiables’ Forum.
Aside from Robredo, fellow presidential hopefuls Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Senators Ping Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, and Bong Go were also in attendance.
Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. did not attend the forum, wherein the presidentiables were asked about various issues and concerns that affect the country.
Robredo noted that the Philippines has the fifth-longest coastline in the world, the second-largest maritime domain, and is the second-largest supplier of maritime workers.
Of about 1.6 million seafarers in the world, 230,000 of them are Filipinos, comprising about 14.4 percent of the world’s maritime workers. This puts them on second spot next only to India.
Earlier, the Vice President said she plans to double the country’s agriculture budget from just 1.7 percent of the national budget to 3.4 percent by 2028.
Another priority of her administration is to ensure that local government units (LGUs) are equipped “to plan for and implement agriculture-related programs and that they allocate sufficient funding for these”.
A sufficient budget for agriculture is expected to boost investments in the modernization of agricultural equipment and infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads, cold storage, and post-harvest facilities.
“We will ensure that importation is always the last resort and prioritize support for local production. Our priority is still to move towards self-sufficiency and food security,” Robredo said.
“This not only helps our farmers and fisherfolk but also protects consumers from volatility of food prices,” she added.
But the lady official is not only focused on increasing the budget of the agricultural sector; she also wants to uplift the lives of the agricultural workers by raising their household incomes.
“We will raise their productivity through the creation of a master plan or road map to harmonize production across the country, with the goal of going beyond subsistence farming and moving towards supplying products on an industrial scale,” she said.