SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Friday lauded the efforts of a community in Pampanga for buying produce directly from farmers for relief assistance during the pandemic.
In an online consultation-dialogue with farmers, other food growers, provincial board members and local executives on food production and distribution in Pampanga during the COVID-19 pandemic, Barangay Captain Froilan Soriano of San Juan Baño, Arayat recounted how he used the senator’s pet law Sagip Saka to his constituents’ advantage.
Soriano said Sagip Saka was able to help both his constituents and farmers in providing relief assistance to families during the lockdown as well as providing income to farmers through direct purchase of their harvest.
“Isa po ‘yung barangay namin sa benepisyaryo ng Sagip Saka Law kung saan noong panahon po ng pandemya buwan po ng Abril, ‘yun pong ayudang naabot sa aming barangay ay direktang pinambili ko po ng palay sa mga magbubukid at natulungan po natin ang mga magsasaka at kami na rin po ang nagpagiik o nagpakiskis, mayroon po kaming rice mill dito sa barangay,“ Soriano said.
“At ang ikinaganda po dahil nabili po natin nang mura ‘yung palay, nadagdagan po ng halos tatlong kilo per household yung naipamigay po natin sa mga constituents po natin. Maraming salamat po sa inyo,” the barangay chief added.
A total of 2,500 households benefitted from the direct rice purchase by the barangay from farmers for relief assistance. Instead of buying commercial rice at P40 per kilo, they bought the unhusked rice at P18 per kilo, a peso higher than the normal selling price of P17.
In a separate interview, Pangilinan, whose family roots descended from Pampanga, described the barangay captain’s account as a “win-win” for all.
“Nakamura ang barangay sa pagbili sa farmers, mataas naman ang benta, nakadagdag sa kita ng farmers kasi mas mataas nang konti ‘yung presyo compared to the prevailing market price. Lahat panalo. Panalo ang farmers, panalo ang local government, panalo pati ang ating mga kababayan na kailangan ng ayuda,” Pangilinan said.
The direct purchase of farm produce and fish catch from farmers and fishermen, and the subsequent bypassing of middlemen is at the core of Pangilinan’s brainchild Sagip Saka or Republic Act 11321, which was enacted into law last year.
Based on a report of the Department of Agriculture, as of July 20, a total of 442 local governments have already bought P2.5 billion worth of agricultural products directly from farmers and fisherfolk to be used for their relief assistance to their communities.
In Region III alone, 47 LGUs bought about P670 million worth of agricultural products from 13 farmers and another 13 farmers’ associations.
The purchase is broken down as follows: P533 million for rice/palay, P62.1 million for corn, P7.71 million for high-value crops, P63.3 million for livestock and poultry, P64 million for fisheries, and P583,000 for seeds and fertilizers
Pampanga Board Member Jun Canlas, who also chairs the Agriculture Committee in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan; Board Members Nelson Calara, Benny Jocson, Gabby Mutuc, and Asiong Macapagal; and Minalin Mayor Ed Flores joined Pangilinan in the online dialogue with agriculture sector representatives.
Regional Director Cris Bautista of the Department of Agriculture Region III also presented the agency’s accomplishment report for Central Luzon.
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