Senator Cynthia Villar on Saturday, April 30 welcomed President Duterte's signing of two laws, which recognize the significance of the abaca and egg industries in the country's growth and development.
President Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 1170 declaring the province of Catanduanes as the "Abaca Capital" of the Philippines.
He also signed RA 11707 making the municipality of San Jose in Batangas as the "egg basket" of the Philippines.
Villar, chairperson of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee, has been at the forefront of pushing the enactment into law of her proposed measures on making Catanduanes and San Jose as the country's abaca capital and egg capital, respectively.
As sponsor of these bills, she had urged her colleagues in the Senate to support them.
With the signing of RA 1170, Villar believes this would spur the growth of the local abaca industry.
She noted the Philippines has long been known to be the leading producer of abaca for several years now.
"And Catanduanes is the highest producer with 31.72 percent contribution in the country’s abaca production in 2020, 33.74 peacent in 2019 and 33.37 percent in 2018," Villar said.
Catanduanes, she further stressed, accounts for more than 80 percent of Bicol regions’ production, with at least 21,500 hectares of land dedicated to abaca planting.
She likewise emphasized that the Philippines dominates the global abaca trade as the country supplies about 87.5 percent of the world’s abaca fiber requirements, with Ecuador and Costa Rica, sharing the remaining 12.5 percent as of 2016.
The new law on abaca provides that "The State recognizes the importance of the abaca industry and its development as a driver of rural development not only because of its singular potential as a raw material that can increase the country's export earnings tremendously and put the name of the country in the map of the world for producing the biggest volume of abaca fiber but for having provided livelihood to many small farmers in the countryside.”
On the other hand, Villar said the law on San Jose as egg capital would help the country attain its goal of food security and sustainability.
"This will also recognize the hardship and efforts of our egg raisers from San Jose. They will be further motivated to serve as inspiration to more farmers in the country," she said.
"From starting as a backyard industry back in the 60s, San Jose, Batangas took the lead and turned it into one of the most successful, if not the most successful industry, with the farmers evolving into agripreneurs, who continuously help innovate the agricultural practices in this small town," added Villar.
Through the concerted efforts of the egg farmers of San Jose, Batangas, Villar said their egg industry continues to be their source of increased income, which also generates thousands of direct and indirect jobs for many.
San Jose is a first-class municipality with the an production of at least 70,000 tons of eggs a year--the biggest in the country.