VP Leni: Focus on agri, it’s the number one employment opportunity giver
Presidential candidate, Vice President Leni Robredo, said on Monday, November 29, that the agricultural sector is a significant “employment opportunity giver” if government develops and focuses on it.
“Agriculture is the number one employment opportunity giver kapag inasikaso lang natin, ” Robredo said at the AGRI 2022 Online Forum.
“Ang ating pag-asa talaga agriculture, kasi iyon talaga iyong pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan ng marami. Kung tututukan lang natin, maraming mga Pilipino iyong maaalis sa poverty level,” she said.
Robredo took note how in 2020 – the first year of the pandemic – the agricultural sector remained “resilient” and experienced growth in the second and third quarter of the year.
The hour long forum tackled issues that affect the future of agriculture. Among those who joined Robredo in the panel were former Agriculture Secretary Leony Montemayor, now head of the Federation of Free Farmers; Ernesto Ordoñez, former Agriculture and Trade and Industry undersecretary; Danny Fausto, head of the Agri-Business—Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food; Emil Javier, president and chairman of the Los Baños Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines; and Hazel Tanchuling, executive director of the Rice Watch Action Network.
“We want to thank you, Vice President Robredo, because you not only showed us your direction, you showed us the detail in the direction because of your actual experience with poor farmers and fisherfolk,” Ordoñez told the Vice President.
Robredo has long worked with farmers and fisherfolks as a volunteer lawyer for the non-government organization, Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panlegal (Saligan),
Recalling her experiences with these sectors, she said: “Pero iyong experiences na iyon, doon ko naramdaman na mas malalim talaga iyong issues na kinakaharap. Ang naramdaman ko lang doon, kulang ng empathy iyong maraming policies na ginagawa natin. Hindi lang iyong kung papaano pinapasa iyong batas pero kung papaano din siya ini-implement at saka ino-operationalize.”
In Congress and at the Office of the Vice President, Robredo said she and her team focused on the smallest farmers by helping them get organized and initiated programs that would help them improve their livelihood.
Robredo said that while candidates lay out the “best platforms” in every election, what is important and most challenging is the operationalization of these platforms. This was where she emphasized the need for a leader to be involved in the implementation of policies.
“Kailangan talaga tutok. And dito pumapasok iyong importance ng empathy. Dito pumapasok iyong importance ng lalim ng understanding ng plight ng tinutulungan. Kasi implementing programs is one thing, pero making sure that you hit your targets is another,” she said, adding:
“Para sa akin, kailangan sana na iyong benchmarks natin kung papaano bumubuti iyong buhay ng magsasaka.”
Robredo said she was always excited to talk about agriculture, and learn more about it, because of the opportunities it can give to the people. She also said that a President must be able to lay down mechanisms that will allow those directly involved in agriculture to be part of governance.
“I think iyon iyong pinakasusi for us to move forward as far as the sector is concerned,” Robredo said. (end)