Benguet farmers thrilled by Pangilinan’s visit: “Sana masolusyonan ang smuggling”

February 21, 2022

VICE-presidential aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan visited Atok, Benguet a couple of days ago to better understand the plight of farmers who were directly hit by the blatant smuggling currently happening in the country.

Pangilinan’s visit gave some hope for Atok farmers that someone running in one of the national seats brings an advocacy to halt smuggling and promote food security by supporting agriculture.

“Masaya kami na nabisita kami ni Senator Kiko dito sa Atok at naiparating mismo namin sa kanya ang mga pagsubok na kinakaharap namin dahil sa smuggling,” farmer Annie Dodon said.

“Nakakabigay pag-asa na marinig mismo sa kanya na ipaglalaban niya ang mga karapatan naming magsasaka laban sa smuggling. Umaasa kami na tutuparin niya ang pangako na ito,” she added.

Edward Haight, a farmer of carrots and cabbage, faces the same dilemma, saying the national government should put a stop on smuggling as this affects his livelihood.

“Sana naman ang ating pamahalaan ay huwag malasakitan ang mga produkto ng China kasi kawawa naman kaming mga magsasaka ng bansa,” he said.

During Pangilinan’s dialogue with Atok farmers, the lawmaker offered his solidarity with them, underscoring that he understands their plight as he himself is also a farmer.

Back when he was the food security secretary, Pangilinan encountered the same problem and faced this head-on by going after the smugglers and the government officials who line their pockets through this practice.

“Nasolusyunan na natin iyan noong chairman ako ng NFA Council bilang food security secretary. Unang una, habulin, i-suspinde, at sampahan ng kaso ang mga smugglers,” he said.

“Noong panahon na iyon, ni-raid talaga namin kasama ang PNP at NBI ang mga smuggler. Inimbistigahan yan natin at binuksan natin iyong mga warehouses [kung nasaan ang mga allegedly smuggled rice]. Pati NFA officials sa mga probinsya, sinampahan ng kaso,” he added.

As he vies for the second highest seat of the land, Pangilinan vows to bring the issue of food security, hunger, and agriculture in the upcoming debates, at the same time provide feasible solutions.

“Mahalagang dalhin sa national debate ang usapin ng pagkain, agrikultura, farming at food security. Narito tayo para ang ating Byahe ni Kiko ay magkakaroon tayo ng dialogue at pakikipag-kapwa sa mga vegetable farmers dito sa Baguio upang malaman natin mismo sa kanila ang mga problema na kinakaharap nila bilang komunidad,” he said in a separate interview.

×