WITH August inflation rate rising to 4.9 percent, the highest since January 2019, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan reiterates that his Sagip Saka Act will help stabilize food prices especially amid the pandemic.
“Ngayong mataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin, kailangan na nating paigtingin pa ang pagpapatupad ng Sagip Saka Act para makatulong sa pagbaba ng presyo ng mga pagkain (With the rise in prices, the Sagip Saka Act must be implemented more determinedly to help lower the price of food),” Pangilinan said after the Philippine Statistics Authority on Tuesday released the August inflation rate.
At this morning’s Senate budget briefing by the government economic team, Pangilinan pointed out that as job losses in agriculture constitute the biggest job loss last year, the Sagip Saka Act will also help address employment.
Signed into law in April 2019, Sagip Saka Act mandates local government units and national and local government agencies to buy directly from accredited farmers and fisher-folk cooperatives.
This way, Pangilinan said the process could do away with the use of middlemen, thus giving farmers and fishermen bigger income while making agricultural products more affordable for consumers.
“Apektado rin ng pandemya ang ating mga magsasaka. Pero kung kikita sila dahil sa kanila bibili at hindi sa mga dayuhang magsasaka ang ating gobyerno, mas ma-e-engganyo silang magsaka pa. Pag marami silang ani, mas marami silang benta sa mas mura ang presyo (Our food producers are also affected by the pandemic. But if they earn because our government buys from them instead of from foreigners, they will be more encouraged to farm. If they have a lot of harvest, they will be able to sell more at lower prices). Everybody happy,” he said.
“Sa tulong ng batas na ito, bababa rin ang presyo ng pagkain, lalaki kita ng mga magsasaka at masisiguro ang sapat na supply ng pagkain sa bansa, na lubhang napakahalaga ngayong pandemya (With the help of this law, food prices will go down, farmers’ income will go up, and the country’s food supply will be ensured — which are important in this pandemic),” he pointed out.
Since the law’s passage, a total of 443 LGUs have purchased agricultural products directly from farmers and fisherfolk as of November 30, 2020.
Citing government data, Pangilinan said food purchase using the direct purchase feature of Sagip Saka increased from P2.592 billion in July 2020 to P2.737 billion in November 2020.