By Elizabeth Marcelo | GMA News Online
Vice presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said comprehensive assistance to the agriculture sector is among his key priorities if he wins the May 2016 elections.
In a chance interview with reporters after delivering a speech before the students of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) here, Marcos hit the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III for supposed lack of support to farmers especially in terms of irrigation and advanced farming methodologies.
“We need to do more in the sector of agriculture. Nag-alala tayo dahil mahina ang suporta na nanggagaling sa national government,” Marcos said.
While the Philippine economy grew 5.8 percent in 2015, the agriculture sector contracted 0.3 percent.
Marcos touted what he called advanced and sustainable farming in Ilocos Norte.
“Buti na lang dito sa Ilocos Norte, hindi mahirap dahil magagaling magsaka ang mga taga rito. At ang liderato dito sa Ilocos Norte ay talagang naiintindihan kung pano pagandahin [ang pagsasaka],” Marcos added.
Ilocos Norte is among the top producers of garlic, tobacco and even rice.
Marcos said he and his running mate, presidential aspirant Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also aims to make the country rice self-sufficient like during the term of his father, the late dictator, Former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Meanwhile, following a campaign kick-off rally with Santiago and a speech before students of MMSU in Batac, Marcos also graced the inauguration of the 20-megawatt solar power farm in Brgy. Paguludan in nearby Currimao town.
Constructed in a 60-hectare property, the project is now considered as the first grid-connected solar power farm in northern Luzon
The power to be generated from the project could provide electricity to some 26,000 households.
Marcos said that with the operation of the solar farm, Ilocos Norte is on its way to become the “renewable energy capital of the Philippines” citing the presence of windmill farms and hydropower plants in several coastal towns in the province.
“This is something that Ilocos Norte should be proud of because we continue to reduce our environmental footprint through clean energy. And we will continue to support projects like this because this is our and our future and our children’s future that are at stake here,” Marcos said in a speech.
Marcos said that with the addition of the solar power plant, Ilocos Norte can now generate 50 percent of its power requirement from green energy.
Also present during the inauguration were project proponent Anthony Violago, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and Currimao Mayor Gladys Go-Cue.
The solar power farm is a joint project of the Ilocos Norte provincial government and Soleq Philippines Inc.