Pangilinan vows to help OFWs thru farming opportunities

Published April 4, 2022, 12:41 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice-presidential candidate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan vowed to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in putting up their own farms as a source of livelihood when they retire from their jobs abroad, promising an all-out assistance from the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem if they win this May elections.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan (Photo courtesy of Team Kiko)

During a virtual townhall with Filipinos abroad, the former food security czar lamented that Filipino farmers are being forced to leave their families behind because of the meager income they get from farming—P7,000 a month as opposed to earning as much as P50,000 when they work abroad.

But by adopting a “farm enterprise management” concept that would enable them to match their earnings abroad, “I think many of our kababayan (countrymen) will opt to stay.”

Pangilinan said he and presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo identified two things to offer OFWs a chance to go home and retire with income stability in mind.

“Yung DA (Department of Agriculture), we are to win it. We will put together the program so that overseas Filipinos na nakaipon na ay pupwede nang mag-umpisa ng maliit na pagsasaka (who saved enough can start a small farm) and enterprise and provide them the necessary support so thay they can come home,” he added.

Pangilinan explained that Robredo will double the agricultural budget to make the Philippines at par with neighboring Vietnam and Thailand, and will also earmark a P100-billion stimulus package for small- and medium-sized enterprises, including farms.

READ: Leni-Kiko tandem vows to make farming profitable for small farmers

This is part of the OFW reintegration program that seeks to empower migrant Filipino workers abroad to come home to their families and be part of the country’s small business industry.

Pangilinan’s own Sagip Saka Act will complement Robredo’s plans because if they win, they want the government to directly buy from farmers by the third or fourth quarter of this year.

“We hit the ground running,” he said.

The second thing the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem will focus on is the local one-stop migration resource center for each local government unit (LGU).

This means OFWs will no longer need to go to different agencies for transactions.

Pangilinan emphasized that without assistance from the government, farmers will remain poor and OFWs will not be able to come home and retire with their families.

“Vice President Leni and I, we just don’t come around during elections and make promises, do the song and dance, and then get your vote. We have our track records will speak for themselves,” he said.