Families to remain intact if local food production earned more than jobs abroad: Pangilinan

FILIPINO families would remain together and not separated by overseas work if local food production earned more than jobs abroad, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan says, as he advocates for bigger investment in agriculture to create more lucrative jobs in the country. 

“Kung may mga trabahong maayos dito sa bayan natin, di na aalis ang mga nanay at tatay at mawawalay sa pamilya (If decent jobs were available locally, then mothers and fathers won’t leave the country away from their family),” Pangilinan said. 

“Ayon sa datos, ang pinakamurang paraan para magkaroon ng trabaho dito sa Pilipinas ay ang mamuhunan sa agrikultura. Kaya mas madaling gumawa ng maraming trabaho kung tututukan ang agrikultura (According to data, job creation is least expensive in the agriculture sector. Therefore immediately, creation of more jobs becomes easily achievable when we focus on agriculture),” he added. 

Pangilinan made these comments reiterating his interpellation earlier last week of Senate Bill 2235 which seeks to create a Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos.

“Alam natin ang hirap na dulot ng pag-o-OFW at tanggap nating dapat harapin ito. Pero umaasa tayo na balang araw, maraming trabahong pagpipilian dito at magiging alaala na lang ang mga problema ng pananamantala, abuso, diskriminasyon, at pagkawalay sa pamilya (We recognize the existing challenges regarding overseas employment and that they need to be addressed. But we hope that one day, we will have lots of lucrative local jobs and that the serious problems of exploitation, abuse, discrimination, and the social cost of being away from their families would be a thing of the past),” he said.

Pangilinan said sufficient investments in agriculture should encourage Filipinos, especially our farmers who earn an average of only P6,000 a month, to stay in the Philippines instead of leaving for work abroad.

Pangilinan’s Sagip Saka Law aims to increase incomes of farmers and fisherfolk by modernizing food production.

“Tingin ko, basta hindi masyadong malayo ang kikitain dito sa Pilipinas, magdadalawang isip na ang ating mga kababayan na mangibang-bansa dahil mahihiwalay sa pamilya, haharap sa mapang-abusong amo, at kung anu-ano pa. (I think, if our people earned in the Philippines something close to what they would earn abroad, they would think twice about leaving because they would be away from their family, possibly face abusive employers, etc.),” he added.

Pangilinan said budget for reintegration should increase and focus on creating jobs in agriculture and even tourism, as every tourist creates one job locally. He said call-center jobs have also kept Filipinos here with their family. 

“Ang solusyon sa mga hamon na kinakaharap ng ating mga kababayan abroad ay ang manatili sila rito, hindi na kailangan pang umalis para makapagtrabaho dahil meron nang trabaho dito (The solution to the challenges surrounding our overseas Filipino workers is that they need not leave, they need not go abroad to find jobs because jobs are made available here),” he said.


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