LIPA, BATANGAS, FEB. 10 – A huge portion of the country’s population are reeling from hunger because there are corrupt government officials benefiting from the importation scheme of the national government, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said on Thursday.
The lawmaker did not mince his words when he criticized the decision of the national government to import goods such as fish, sugar, and pork from other countries, describing it as a factor contributing to the continuing spike in food prices.
“May kumikita diyan at obviously at the expense ng taumbayan,” Pangilinan said, citing the decision of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to import fish even if local fishermen say that fish supply in the country is sufficient.
“Hindi tama ang importation. Is this fundraising? Mayroon bang kumikita dito? Pati ang fishery sector, iyong galunggong, iniimport na rin. Eh malamang iyong mga galunggong na iyon ay mga balikbayan lang din kasi galing China at alam natin na hinuli lang naman ng mga mangingisdang Intsik yan mula sa ating tubig. It’s really wrong,” he added.
Just a few days ago, the DA yet again decided to import sugar even if it is currently the milling season for this product in the Philippines.
Pangilinan said this band-aid solution by the DA should stop, otherwise the Filipino people will continue to suffer.
“Tumututol tayo riyan sapagkat kasagsagan pa naman ng milling season so makikipag-kumpitensya itong imported sa ating mga lokal [na asukal] na hindi tama. Dapat ‘yan ay doon sa panahon nang hindi nag-mi-mill dahil babagsak na naman ang presyo,” Pangilinan said in a radio interview earlier today.
Last year, the DA promised that the price of pork will go down due to importation.
Pangilinan, however, said the opposite happened as the price has risen to P380 per kilo, which a minimum wage earner could not afford.
“Ang sabi nila last year bababa ang presyo ng karne dahil sa importation. Hindi naman bumaba. P380 pa rin ang isang kilo. Tone-tonelada na ang inimport pero mataas pa rin ang presyo,” Pangilinan said.
With this lingering problem that prevents the Philippines from being food secured, Pangilinan, who is running for vice-president, offers a simple solution.
He has pushed for the national government to fully and properly implement the provisions of his Sagip Saka Act which mandates government agencies to buy directly from local farmers and fisherfolk.
“If there’s a basic right, it’s the right to food and proper nutrition. Obviously mayroon tayong [problema sa pagkain] and we begin solving this by securing our farmers and fisherfolk,” said Pangilinan.
Pangilinan, along with his running mate presidential candidate Leni Robredo, visited Batangas today on the third day of the campaign period.
Although campaigning is physically taxing, Pangilinan said, all the exhaustion is taken away by the warm welcome of their supporters.
“We’re up at four in the morning and we end at ten or eleven at night. It’s exhausting and tiring pero lumalakas ang loob namin at nawawala ang pagod dahil overwhelming at outpouring ang support [ng mga tao]. We will keep at it. It’s a small price to pay for a better future of the country,” he said. ###
COMMON CAPTION: TROPA presidential candidate Leni Robredo, vice-presidential candidate Kiko Pangilinan and senatorial candidates Leila De Llima (with proxy), Chel Diokno, Dick Gordon and Sonny Matula visit Batangas province, including Lipa City here, to warm welcome from supporters. PHOTOS COURTESY OF LENI-KIKO 2022