By Othel V. Campos | Manila Standard
Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. plans to create a grand plan to attain food security and stabilize the prices of agricultural commodities.
At the forum “Halalan 2021 Para sa Agrikultura” organized by the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, Inc., Marcos underscored the gains of the Philippine government in the 70’s and early 80’s on its campaign to provide sustainable food at every Filipino family’s table.
“There is going to be a need for an overall plan and that overall plan has to be at the national level. With the advent of climate change and global warming, all of these cannot be done at the local level. This should be done at the highest level of government,” he said Monday.
The increasing level of agricultural commodities importation is another problem that Marcos is keen on resolving adding that supply is not only the problem but the supply line, as well.
“We must have strategic food supply and rely on importations. We have to stand on our own especially during food crisis. Never mind the pandemic, there are events beyond our control like drought and war.
Many things happen and we should be prepared to have our own and reliable sources of food,” Marcos said.
In another gathering, senior citizens who experienced the administration of Bongbong’s father Ferdinand Marcos Sr. said it was the glory days in Philippine history, and only a unifying BBM presidency could usher in what they called the country’s “return to its former grandeur and a progressive new era.”
Speaking at the “Pulong-pulong sa Pagbabago” forum in Caloocan City, Adriano Garduce, 72, speaking for the other elderly at the gathering, said, “too much politics spawned by some people and groups with varied vested interests had left the country reeling and economically drained after 1986.”
“What happened after the Marcoses left the country? Countless coups, untenable power struggle from politicians, and economic uncertainty stunted the growth of the nation. We were known as the ‘Tiger of Asia’ then, now we are just a country trying to stay afloat economically and our sovereignty is threatened,” Garduce said.
At the “Halalan 2021” forum, Marcos said “The pandemic has demonstrated how unprepared we are to deal with problems like this, knowing how we are very dependent on outside sources for our food, for our nutrition. I believe that at the national level, there has to have strategic food supply,” he added.
In a country like the Philippines, where most farming is done through small land holdings, Marcos has drafted a blueprint that will sustain growth by strengthening cooperatives nationwide.
The cooperative will help farmers in all aspect of of production, from production to marketing to delivery.
“I’m a big supporter of cooperatives. When I was studying in London, I saw how it works and the benefits it gives to farmers. I would like to see that happening here, in our country,” Marcos said.
He stressed there is no need to “reinvent the agricultural wheel,” the country’s leadership should learn from the lessons of the 70’s and 80’s to improve production.
He added that a balanced budgetary allocation for agriculture is important but implementation, how the budget will reach the municipalities and what programs should be supported should also take precedence.