Pangilinan: Farmers, fisher folk should also be priority in govt’s anti-Covid game plan

December 21, 2020

FARMERS and fisher folk are frontliners too and should be prioritized in the government’s game plan to control Covid, including its plan to vaccinate essential workers, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Monday.

“Sila ang nagpapakain sa atin. Hindi ba dapat prayoridad sa vaccination plan ang ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda?” Pangilinan asked.

“Biktima na ng pandemya ang kanilang kabuhayan, at pinalala pa ng mga nagdaang bagyo. Pero araw-araw pa rin silang nagbubungkal ng lupa para hindi tayo magutom. Kaya isa yan sa mga tanong na ihahain natin sa Committee of the Whole,” he added.

Last Monday, December 14, the Senate adopted Pangilinan’s Senate Resolution 594 seeking to convene the Senate Committee of the Whole to look into the government’s vaccination program.

“Hindi maikakaila na karamihan sa ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda ay isa sa mga pinakamahihirap na sektor ng lipunan. Sila rin ang pinaka-apektado tuwing may sakuna,” Pangilinan said.

“Hindi nila kakayaning makabili ng vaccines kung walang suporta ng pamahalaan. Karamihan din sa kanila ay walang ID, walang access sa mga ospital. Ano ang plano? Paano sisiguruhing maabot sila ng vaccine sa lalong madaling panahon?” he added.

According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), losses in agriculture due to typhoons Quinta and Ulysses, and super typhoon Rolly hit P12.3 billion.

In Cagayan Valley alone, agriculture damages were at P2.2 billion.

“Konti lamang ang itinaas ng budget ng DA para sa 2021. Maraming kailangang bigyan ng pansin kagaya ng pagpapaigting ng crop protection at insurance schemes upang may sasalo sa pinsalang dulot ng mga sakuna at pandemya. Dapat ipasok din sa usapan na kailangan ng vaccines ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda,” Pangilinan said.

Earlier, the senator expressed his dismay over the government’s failure to secure the delivery of 10 million Pfizer Covid vaccines as early as January.

Hoping for no “kickvacc,” Pangilinan said that a case for violation of the Anti-Graft Law may be filed against those who “dropped the ball” in the Pfizer procurement agreement.

The Senate Committee of the Whole is expected to convene in January 2021 before Senate resumes session.

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