Pangilinan tells Boracay voters: Affordable, quality food key to island's tourism recovery; sustain livelihood of local farmers, fishers

Affordable and quality food will help the world-renowned Boracay Island sustain businesses and livelihood of locals, aspiring vice president Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said as he vowed to push the agenda if elected.

Senator Francis 'Kiko' Pangilinan (Photo courtesy of the KIKO-LENI 2022)

Pangilinan, during a sortie in Boracay on Wednesday, Feb. 16, said that affordable and quality food supply will entice more tourists to visit the famous travel destination which will eventually contribute to its tourism recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The senator said this is possible if government will bolster support to farmers and fishers to improve their catch and production.

"Mahalaga ang isda, pagkain lalo na sa tourism area. Masarap ang pagkain ng Pilipino pero bakit hindi kayang bilhin? (Fish and food are important, especially in a tourism area. Filipino food is delicious but why is it not affordable?" he asked.

"Hindi binibigyan ng importansya ang magsasaka, kaya kulang ang suplay, mahal ang presyo ng pagkain. Kaya ang ating panawagan, 'Hello pagkain, goodbye gutom' (Farmers are not given importance, this is why there is lack of supply, prices of food are high. This is also why our call is 'Hello food, goodbye hunger')," he added.

Majority of the farmers and fishers in Aklan province are marketing their produce to Boracay, which has since welcomed tourists anew after months in lockdown due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Pangilinan said farmers need significant intervention to help them cope with natural disasters and rising prices of commodities they need in production and transportation such as oil.

If elected, he said he will further support famers and fishers by providing farmers subsidy to ease the impact of oil price spikes and establishing an agricultural pension for farmers and fisherfolk to provide them substantial and reliable source of income security and retirement benefits.

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