PROSPEROUS, healthy Filipino farmers, which is the objective of the recently enacted Sagip Saka law, means a prosperous, healthy Philippines, said Senator Francis Pangilinan on Tuesday, the last session day of the 17th Congress.
“Ang mga nagpapakain sa ating mga sampung milyong magsasaka at mangingisda, nagugutom. 2015 Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) figures show that farmers and fishermen posted the highest poverty incidences at 34.3% and 34.0%. In 2017, the country’s agricultural workers were paid an average nominal wage rate of P280.37 per day,” he said.
“Itong batas ay sakatuparan ng pangako natin noong 2016 campaign! Ang susunod na hakbang ay ganap na pagpapatupad nito. Kailangan nating gawing masagana at malusog ang ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda hindi lang dahil ito ang tamang gawin kundi ito rin ang sisiguro ng kasaganaan at kalusugan ng buong bansa (This law is a 2016 campaign promise fulfilled! Next step is full implementation. We need to make our farmers and fisherfolk prosperous and healthy not only because this is the right thing to do but also because it would ensure the entire country’s own survival and prosperity),” said Pangilinan, who has a small farm in Cavite.
Sagip Saka (Republic Act 11321) seeks higher incomes for farmers and fisherfolk through entrepreneurship by requiring government agencies to purchase produce and harvests directly from food producers, eliminating middlemen that raise food prices.
The law exempts both national government agencies and local governments from the Procurement Law when buying agricultural products directly from accredited farmers cooperatives and organizations. It also exempts donors from paying donor taxes when making donations such as capital outlay for farm equipment, post-harvest facilities, and agriculture infrastructure, among others, to accredited farmers organizations.
Aside from this pet project, Senator Pangilinan is also principal author of Republic Act 11210 or the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law which increased this benefit for working mothers.
He also authored Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act which provides free Internet access in public spaces in the country.
He also co-authored the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act which provides for free tuition and other school fees in state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges, and state-run technical-vocational institutions.
From 2016 to 2019, Senator Pangilinan has filed 20 more bills, including the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act of 2016 creating P100-billion trust fund for about 3.5 million coconut farmers; the President vetoed the bill.
The other bills filed are: Anti-Political Dynasty of 2018, Constitutional Education Act, Body Camera Act, Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Including Charging Stations Promotions Act of 2017, Mandatory Collection of Biological Specimen and Identification Samples Act of 2017, Mandatory Autopsy Law of 2017, Expanded Crop Insurance Act of 2016, National Food Security Act of 2016, National Food Security Act of 2016, Zero Food Waste Act, Integrated Urban Agriculture Act of 2016, Comprehensive Nursing Law, Compulsory Voter Education Act of 2016, Paternity Leave Act, Civil Service Eligibility to Government Employees, Government Doctor’s Salary Upgrading Act of 2016, Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Act of 2016, Freedom of Information Act of 2016, Strategic Food Security Rice Reserve Act of 2016, and Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act of 2016.
On top of that, Senator Pangilinan also filed 18 resolutions, including adopted Resolution No. 27 which extols the heroism and virtues of World War II martyr Wenceslao Q. Vinzons on the occasion of his 106th birth anniversary.