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Agri, fishery groups cheer, jeer poll results

MANILA, Philippines — The result of the country’s national elections, which could spell a stronger administration push for federalism and other controversial policies, drew mixed reactions from agriculture and mining groups.

Promining organizations chose to tiptoe around the poll results, while activist groups expressed dismay over the dominance of “convicted plunderers” and “political lackeys” in the winning circle of new senators.

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Others gave credit to officials who managed to snag a Senate seat “through their track record.”

In an interview, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag), one of the biggest agricultural groups in the country, said it was not looking at the individuals but rather at “profarmer legislation.”

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The group however cited the reelection of Senators Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe and JV Ejercito as a win for the industry.

“They’ve proven their support [for] local agriculture,” said Sinag chair Rosendo So. “We believe the people who delivered them their success were comprised of those from the rural sector,” he added.

As for neophytes like former presidential aide Bong Go and former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa who ranked third and fifth in the latest update of the senatorial race respectively, Sinag said they were hoping that the two men’s “campaign of being propeople would be realized.”

But activist groups Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) expressed dismay over the results of the national polls.

“We see the dominance of traditional politicians, convicted plunderers and political lackeys of the Duterte administration in the winning list of senators. This does not bode well for transformative social change,” ATM said in a statement.

“We expect this new Congress to again sideline the Green Bills … We will continue to be vigilant as activists, feminists and environmentalists as we uphold human rights for all,” the statement added.

Pamalayaka national chair Fernando Hicap said the new roster of senators would make it easier for the Duterte administration to push forward policies that are anti-Filipino, which would include allowing China’s reclamation of the West Philippine Sea and the continuous harassment of Filipino fishers at Panatag Shoal.

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“It would be even harder to push for legislation [supporting the local fisheries sector]. Most of the senators included agriculture and fisheries in their platforms, but there has been no realization of these,” Hicap said.

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TAGS: 2019 elections, agricultural groups, fishery groups
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