(PNA file photo)

MANILA – Aksyon Demokratiko presidential bet Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso laid out his plans for farmers and fisherfolk and the agricultural sector, in general, should he win the May 2022 election.

In a press conference during his campaign sortie in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija on Friday, Domagoso bared several concrete plans to help uplift the lives and livelihood of the country’s farmers and their families.

He said aside from the 50 percent cut in excise taxes on oil products and electricity, which would reduce the farmers’ expenses in fuel, fertilizers, and pesticides for higher crop yields, his administration would invest in storage facilities for farm produce.

“We guarantee you that we will build more storage and drying facilities for palay. Para pagka-baha ang bigas, huwag mapuwersa ang magsasaka na ibenta ang palay niya sa talong halaga (So when rice is abundant in the market, the farmer would not be forced to sell his palay at a lower price),” Domagoso said.
He noted that one of the reasons why he goes around and holds town hall meetings with farmers and different sectors is that he wants to personally hear from them about their situation.

This way, Domagoso said, he could adopt them in policymaking and create programs and plans most appropriate to meet their actual needs.

He said palay farmers who stock their produce in government storage facilities would also be assisted by government financial institutions in getting interest-free loans as they wait for a better time to sell their palay.

Domagoso explained that he plans to loan the farmers 20 percent to 50 percent of the value of their palay, which they could pay by the time they sell their produce in the market.

The farmers will only have to pay the government the exact amount of their loan.

Through this process, he said, food sufficiency would be achieved.

“Kung tangan-tangan natin kasi gumawa tayo ng pasilidad, gumaan ang buhay ng magsasaka, meron na silang storage at dryer, tapos may makukuha pa silang pera na hindi galing sa patubuan, hindi galing sa pahigpitan. With this ecosystem, tingin ko panatag ang pamumuhay ng magsasaka (With the product inside the facility that we have built, the lives of the farmers would become easier as they now have storage and dryer. They can also avail of loans not coming from loan sharks. With this ecosystem, I think they will be more secure),” he said.

Domagoso also pledged full development in the Department of Agriculture with regards to food security programs, adapting to technology, science, and skills that would help maximize productivity in limited planting areas.

He is also committed to going after smugglers of agricultural products and limiting the country’s importation.

Domagoso assured farmers that they would not be victims of false promises, unlike those from other politicians, as he always keeps his promises to the people, as proven by his track record, especially when he became the mayor of Manila. (PNA)