Hontiveros to Marcos: Give justice to farmers, stakeholders with agri chief stint

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28) — Sen. Risa Hontiveros hopes the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the helm of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will strengthen the sector and boost support for farmers and stakeholders to prevent a "food catastrophe" in the country.

"I hope he will bring the full force of his office to preempting a food catastrophe," the opposition senator told CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday.

Hontiveros said Marcos can expect numerous recommendations on his table, including scaling up efforts within the DA's Philippine Rural Development Project which was framed to provide key infrastructure, facilities, and technology to boost productivity and raise the income of the agriculture and fisheries sectors.

"I hope the President-elect, as he serves as the agriculture secretary for now, will do justice to our stakeholders in the agriculture sector especially in the rural areas," Hontiveros said.

"Our farmers, fisherfolk, MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) in the country need to have the full package of executive support for our programs, and legislative support as well including in terms of correcting the policy framework on tariffs, on protection against smuggling itself and really earmarking revenues to support agriculture as our engine of growth and now also our engine of recovery from the pandemic and recession," the senator added.

Hontiveros also lauded her colleagues in the Senate in the 18th Congress after the Senate Committee of the Whole released its report tagging officials from the DA, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and the Bureau of Customs who were alleged protectors and smugglers of agricultural products.

The report also found that the amount of smuggled agricultural and fishery commodities from 2019 to 2022 was estimated at ₱667.5 million.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28) — Sen. Risa Hontiveros hopes the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the helm of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will strengthen the sector and boost support for farmers and stakeholders to prevent a "food catastrophe" in the country.

"I hope he will bring the full force of his office to preempting a food catastrophe," the opposition senator told CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday.

Hontiveros said Marcos can expect numerous recommendations on his table, including scaling up efforts within the DA's Philippine Rural Development Project which was framed to provide key infrastructure, facilities, and technology to boost productivity and raise the income of the agriculture and fisheries sectors.

"I hope the President-elect, as he serves as the agriculture secretary for now, will do justice to our stakeholders in the agriculture sector especially in the rural areas," Hontiveros said.

"Our farmers, fisherfolk, MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) in the country need to have the full package of executive support for our programs, and legislative support as well including in terms of correcting the policy framework on tariffs, on protection against smuggling itself and really earmarking revenues to support agriculture as our engine of growth and now also our engine of recovery from the pandemic and recession," the senator added.

Hontiveros also lauded her colleagues in the Senate in the 18th Congress after the Senate Committee of the Whole released its report tagging officials from the DA, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and the Bureau of Customs who were alleged protectors and smugglers of agricultural products.

The report also found that the amount of smuggled agricultural and fishery commodities from 2019 to 2022 was estimated at ₱667.5 million.

Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan, one of the individuals tagged in the report, denied his involvement and maintained that he will not step down from office.

"Wala naman pong any evidence, wala naman pong malinaw na sinabi kung ano ang aking partisipasyon sa sinasabing pagproteksyon (sa smugglers)...mismong magsasaka, empleyado ng DA, mga sektor ang nagsasabing iyan ay paninira lamang," Cayanan told CNN Philippines' Balitaan.

[Translation: There's no evidence, it was not clearly stated what was my participation in the alleged protection of smugglers...the farmers, DA employees, and the sector are saying that is a mere accusation.]

READ: Senate report tags gov't officials as alleged agri protectors, smugglers 

Hontiveros hoped that investigation on the issue will finally reduce and eventually eliminate the smuggling of agricultural products in ports, and deliver the due revenues to government, and bring justice to farmers, fisherfolk, and small businesses in the sector.

Outgoing Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the officials involved in the issue should "be given a chance to face their accusers, and defend themselves in the proper forum."