(File photo) 

MANILA – Kabayan Partylist Representative Ron Salo has introduced a measure aimed to empower the youth to learn the importance of agriculture, fisheries, forest and marine conservation and management, among others.

The proposed measure, House Bill No. 6769 or the “Agri-Scouting Act,” seeks to encourage the youths to take a proactive stance in environment conservation and climate change resiliency, discover the fundamental concepts of proper food nutrition, and be acquainted with modern farming, fisheries, and food production methods.

“It is hoped that this will contribute to our collective aspiration of achieving food self-sufficiency," said Salo in filing the bill.

The veteran lawmaker noted that the Philippines, primarily an agricultural country, should put a premium on the development of the agricultural sector as it directly affects the economy and the quality of life of the people. However, he also noted that the Philippines has low food productivity despite its abundant natural resources.

"It is quite concerning that low food productivity has now become a national issue. To illustrate, in the 2020 report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), the Philippines recorded the highest number of food insecure people in Southeast Asia in 2017 to 2019, with 59 million Filipinos suffering from moderate to severe lack of consistent access to food. These findings were even recorded before the pandemic," Salo said.

For the purpose of carrying out the objectives of the proposed measure, the Department of Education (DepEd) is mandated to integrate agri-scouting as a program in the elementary and junior high school under the K-12 curriculum in all public and private schools in the Philippines. The DepEd shall also directly supervise and control the program implementation of the said Act.

"The inspiration behind this bill is the success of the boy and girl scouts movement in the Philippines since 1938 whose training program prepares the youth for responsible leadership and nation-building. We aim to inspire and move young people to take leadership roles with a strong emphasis on agriculture, fisheries, forest and marine conservation and management, and ecology-related training programs," Salo said.

"Our youth have so much potential to address long-standing challenges, especially in food security. This is one of our ways to maximize that potential so they can truly contribute to society in the immediate future and for the generations to come," he added. (PNA)