Bongbong should follow dad's food terminal idea amid food crisis, says solon

Published June 23, 2022, 12:35 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep . LRay Villafuerte said President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. can tackle the looming food crisis by taking a cue from his father, the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte (left) and President-elect Bongbong Marcos

Villafuerte, a former Camarines Sur governor, recalled that it was Marcos Sr. who “launched programs aimed at achieving agricultural self-sufficiency”. These included the establishment of the Food Terminal Incorporated (FTI) in Taguig City for warehousing and processing and the Masagana 99, which enabled the Philippines to even export rice to neighboring countries from 1977 to 78.

A subsidiary of the National Food Authority (NFA), the FTI was put up for the purpose of warehousing, food processing, marketing services and trading of agricultural produce. The late Marcos served in Malacañang from 1965 to 1986.

Earlier this week, Marcos Jr. announced that he would take on the position of Department of Agriculture (DA) in order to prepare it for a for the a feared food crisis this semester.

“We commend BBM’s (Bongbong Marcos) decision to head the DA when he takes over the presidency next week as this sends the crystal clear message that his incoming administration is giving no.1 priority to agricultural modernization and food security, if not self-sufficiency,” said Villafuerte, a staunch advocate of higher farm productivity in the House of Representatives.

According to the congressman, the incoming Marcos administration should “focus on value-added processing of agricultural products, with state-run food terminals taking the lead in all regions of the country”.

“BBM could put up at least one major food terminal in every region, with production, processing, marketing and trading focused on the major farm goods in each region,” he said.

“For instance, the proposed food terminal in Bicol could focus on coconut as this is the major crop in our region,” noted Villafuerte.

“But instead of concentrating on just coconut oil, we in the region could focus on processing and packaging for sale here and abroad of such value-added goods as organic coconut milk, sparkling coconut water, skimmed coconut milk, dried coconut milk powder, toasted coconut flakes, desiccated or shredded coconut, coconut chips, and coconut fruit spread and cookies,” he explained.

Villafuerte further said that it’s “logical” for Marcos to give top priority to agriculture, considering that there are 9.99 million people employed in the farm sector as per the 2018 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

This figure represents almost a tenth of the Filipino population, he said.