Robredo meets with farmers, other sectoral groups in Aurora: 'It's time for gov't to focus on agriculture'

Presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo said it is time for the government to focus on improving the country's agriculture industry, such as increasing the sector's budget.

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo and running mate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan meet with leaders and representatives from different sectors in a multi-sectoral assembly held at the Baler Municipal Hall, Baler, Aurora on Saturday, April 9. (VP Leni Media Bureau)

Robredo mentioned this during a Multi-Sectoral Assembly she attended with her running mate Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, in Baler, Aurora, on Saturday, April 9.

"Ang paniniwala natin, panahon na para tutukan ng pamahalaan 'yung agriculture. Pagdating sa budget, kulang na kulang. Pag tinignan natin 'yung focus ng budget, kulang na kulang din (We believe that it is time for the government to focus on agriculture. When it comes to budget, it’s really lacking)," she said.

Robredo and Pangilinan personally met with leaders and representatives from different sectors representing farmers, fisherfolks, tricycle drivers, tourism, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, women, youth, and indigenous peoples in Aurora.

According to Robredo, they wanted to personally discuss with them the issues affecting their sectors to immediately and adequately address them.

"Gusto po namin kayong pakinggan, ano ba 'yung mga kahirapan na pinagdadaanan ninyo ngayon? At palagay niyo, papano makakatulong 'yung pamahalaan sa inyo?" Robredo asked.

The Vice President said they had already received complaints about the increasing costs of agricultural products such as fertilizer and lack of farm equipment, causing high production costs and leaving Filipino farmers at the losing end.

There is also the problem of smuggled produce which Robredo said only worsens the situation of our farmers.

"Sa mga manggugulay, grabe yung problema nila ngayon kasi grabe pa yung smuggling. 'Yung mga gulay na pinagpapaguran ng mga magsasaka natin, hindi nakakapag-kompetisyon sa mga pinapasok na gulay kasidahi l smuggled, walang buwis na binabayaran, so nababagsak nila 'yung presyo (Vegetable growers have a serious problem now because of smuggling. They cannot compete with the imported produce because they are smuggled and no tax is being paid so they can drop the price)," she added.

The presidential aspirant then vowed that these issues would be addressed in a Robredo-Pangilinan administration, adding that his running mate's platform centered on agriculture and food security.

"Kami po ni Senator Kiko, yun yung aming pinapangako sa inyo na kapag kami po 'yung naka-upo, hindi namin papayagan na ganito yung kalagayan ng mga magsasaka natin (This is what Senator Kiko and I will assure if we win the election. We will not allow this situation of our farmers to continue)," she added.