Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan on Tuesday, Jan, 25 urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to invest in agriculture and fisheries, and help feed the country’s hungry as the future remains uncertain due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Sa mahigit na isang dekada kong pagsasaka marami akong nakausap na mga OFW na ang gusto pagka-retire at bumalik sa bansa ay mag-full-time farming (In my 10 years in farming, I have talked to OFWs who want to retire and come back to the Philippines and go into full-time farming). Kung maging partners ng pamahalaan ang ating mga OFWs at ang private sector para mas paunlarin pa ang agrikultura, makatitiyak tayong mawawala ang gutom sa Pilipinas (I am certain that hunger would be addressed when our OFWs and the private sector become partners and develop agriculture),” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, a vice presidential aspirant, said that this investment would create more local jobs for Filipinos affected by the ongoing pandemic.
“Nakita naman natin kung gaano kahalaga ang agrikultura nitong nakaraang pandemic (We have seen the importance of agriculture during this pandemic). Kumbaga, merong opportunity sa mga OFW, meron din na maiangat ang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda (When OFWs have the opportunity.. this will help the stature of our farmers and fishermen). Sila ang nagsisigurado na mayroong pagkaing nakahain sa ating mga mesa (They are the one who make sure that we have food in our tables), ” he said.
Through the years, the OFWs keep the economy afloat through their hard-earned remittances, which make up at least 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), based on government data, he pointed out.
But according to Redentor Paolo Alegre, the senior director of the Department of Economic Statistics of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), only a few OFWs are investing in different investment schemes as observed in the last quarter of 2021.
Pangilinan said OFWs should allot a portion of their income to investments as this will help them when their retirement day comes. For the lawmaker, agriculture is a good investment, and so this must be considered by the modern-day heroes.
“Umaasa ako na marami pang mga OFWs natin ang mag-invest sa agrikultura ( I am hoping that many OFWs who want to invest in agriculture). Kailangan natin sila lalo ngayong pandemya at sunud-sunod ang sakuna ang hinarap ng ating mga magsasaka’t mangingisda (We need them particularly now that we are experiencing an epidemic and a succession of disasters that farmers and fishermen are facing),” Pangilinan said.