Senator Christopher “Bong” Go calls on government to provide more support to small farmers as they are the backbone of the nation’s economy and play a crucial role in maintaining the country’s food security.
Go, member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, has been supportive of legislative efforts aimed at uplifting the lives of Filipino farmers, particularly in these challenging economic times. He contributed to the passage of Republic Act No. 11953, known as the New Agrarian Emancipation Act, which he co-sponsored and co-authored in the Senate.
This landmark legislation condones loans, including interests, penalties, and surcharges, incurred by agrarian reform beneficiaries. By doing so, it aims to alleviate the financial burdens faced by over 600,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries across the Philippines, thereby enhancing their economic resilience.
In addition to this, Go also authored and co-sponsored RA 11960, or the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act. This law decentralizes economic opportunities by empowering each town and province to develop and promote their unique products.
By doing so, it not only fosters community-led innovation but also bridges the urban-rural economic divide, providing small farmers with more avenues to market their produce.
Go also emphasized the importance of encouraging end users to directly purchase from producers. This not only helps the farmers but also ensures that consumers get fresh and affordable produce.
“It’s not only about us not needing to import from other countries. It’s about recognizing and supporting our local farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries,” Go added.
As the nation navigates through economic challenges, Go reiterated that the most important thing is that no one goes hungry.
“Dapat po, walang magutom. Importante po dito tiyan ng bawat Pilipino,” he said.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, inflation rate rose to 5.3 percent in August, up from 4.7 percent in July. The increase in inflation was primarily due to the faster rise in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Specifically, inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages accelerated to 8.1 percent in August. The year-on-year growth rate for rice prices rose to 8.7 percent from 4.2 percent.
The government has implemented a cap on rice prices to reduce costs and penalize hoarding, although this measure has sparked discussions about its impact on both farmers and consumers.