Robredo vows to double agri budget if she makes it

 

Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, a presidential aspirant in May 2022 national elections, vowed on Monday to double the national budget for the agriculture sector to at least ₱116 billion if she were to be elected as the next president.

 

METRO MANILA, Philippines — At present, Robredo said, only 1.7 percent of the national budget is allotted to the agriculture sector.

Robredo said, however, that increasing the budget alone is not enough, as she pointed out that the distribution of these funds should also be reviewed.

“So my commitment is that in the first budget that I would be doing, we would make at least ₱116 billion. We won’t just look at the total budget but we would also consider its distribution…We’re going to see if the distribution of the entire budget is fair.”

According to Robredo, in 2021, the Department of Agriculture (DA) allocated ₱15.5 billion to the rice sector, ₱3 billion to the fisheries sector, and ₱1 billion each for other banner programs of the department in the crop and livestock sector.

The presidential candidate argued that agriculture sector investments should focus more on the resilient sub-sectors that could rake in more income for the farmers and fisherfolk, who still remain to be among the poorest Filipinos today.

“It’s not just about the total budget but also its distribution. We have to look not just at the entire budget but also the equity of its distribution,” Robredo said.

“If we say it is fair, where are the opportunities? Which is the most resilient sub-sector of agriculture? Because wherever the opportunities are, that’s where we should put a chunk of the budget.”

The Vice President then pointed out the need to fund more climate-friendly crops which farmers can harvest, depending on conditions in their provinces.

In the past weeks, Robredo was seen laying down her comprehensive platform for the 2022 elections. She has been wooing various sectors including farmers. Apart from increased funding for DA, Robredo has pushed to prioritize infrastructure that would spur rural development for farmers and fisherfolk nationwide. (JE/Headline PH)

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