MANILA — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, October 5, assured Filipino farmers and fisherfolk that his administration would accelerate its efforts to empower the country’s agriculture sector.
The President said this as he graced the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 AgriLink, FoodLink, and AquaLink Exhibitions 2017 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
In his speech, President Duterte expressed his gratitude to the Foundation for Resource Linkage & Development for organizing the annual event.
“Initiatives like these truly contribute to our vision of a more productive and progressive agricultural sector in our society,” he said. “Throughout the years, these events have become a venue [for] meaningful dialogue between the government and various stakeholders regarding services, breakthroughs and the challenges in the agribusiness industry,” he added.
President Duterte, for his part, guaranteed that the government would spearhead more programs that would promote the welfare of the country’s agricultural workers.
“Do not worry. As long as the land is there… in fullness of God’s time, we will improve,” he said.
To increase yield in agri-products, the President said the government is providing climate resilient seed varieties and introducing better production and post-harvest technologies.Loans and insurances are likewise provided to safeguard agri-workers from financial risk, he added.
The Chief Executive further said the agriculture sector continues to receive one of the biggest budgetary allocations among government agencies. He also reiterated his commitment to ensure food security in the country.
President Duterte then expressed his support for the Agriculture Department’s self-sufficiency goal, adding that better programs should be enforced so the country would not depend so much on neighboring nations for food sources.
The President cited Mindanao as a promising region that would lead the Philippines towards food security due to its fertile lands, great climate, and rich aquatic resources.
“The greatest promise of food security would really be Mindanao. Wala ho kaming bagyo doon,” the President said. “‘Yang Lake Lanao na ‘yan sa Marawi, properly developed and utilized, would feed the nation. Napakaganda niyan,” he added.
However, President Duterte stressed the need to address the region’s decades-old problems on terrorism and security.
“Meron kasi tayong serious security problems. And for as long as there is trouble, we cannot initiate programs that would guarantee a good production for the year. There is so much terrorism and a lot of extortion going around,” Duterte said.
The Chief Executive lamented that Mindanao has become a “hotbed of shabu” in the country, with some local politicians and terrorists getting involved in the illegal drug business. He said illegal drugs fueled the ongoing rebellion in Marawi City.
On the other hand, the Commander-in-Chief assured the people that the government’s war against the Maute terrorists is nearing its end. “Marawi is winding up. I hope that in the fullness of God’s time, Allah’s time, we’d be able to really to talk peace… Ako, I’m willing to pour everything there. I promised them rehabilitation. ‘Wag lang sila magpapasok ng terorista,” he said.
He then warned criminals, terrorists, and drug personalities anew not to threaten the future of young Filipinos, otherwise he would exhaust all efforts to go after them. “Do not do that to my country. I will never allow people to destroy my country, period. I am building my country. Do not make it hard for us,” Duterte said.