Agrarian reform beneficiaries back Isko Moreno for president
MANILA, Philippines — The presidential campaign of Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso got another boost after a large group of agrarian reform beneficiaries, farmers and fisherfolks has thrown its full support behind the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer.
The Philippine Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc (PCARBA) Farmers and Fisherfolks Sector endorsed Moreno through Resolution No. 05 that unanimously approved by the organization’s provincial, regional and national officers led by national president, Oscar Pialago, and secretary general Francisco Delasala.
PCARBA boast an active membership of 7.5 million that are distributed throughout the different provinces of the country. and belongs to the marginalized sector of society.
In endorsing Moreno, PCARBA said it “believes in the 10-point agenda of Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso to make every Filipino self-reliant through livelihood skills,” and that all its 7.5 million members “will benefit if he wins as President” in the coming May 9 national and local elections.
It is interesting to note that besides being the national president of PCARBA, Pialago also sits as the national chairman of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC) Farmers and Fisherfolk Sector. MRRD-NECC is a big volunteer group that propelled President Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency in 2016.
Pialago is also national president of the Pambansang Mannalo-Magsasaka, Magbabaul, Mag-uuma; director of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) Oilmills; and sits in the Board of Director at the Philippine Farmers Advisory Board.
PCARBA becomes the latest agricultural group to boost Moreno’s presidential bid. Last March, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), and Abono partylist group, endorsed Moreno during his sorties in Pangasinan.
SINAG is an umbrella group of 31 farmers and agriculture stakeholders and organizations all over the country composed of seed growers, fertilizer, irrigators, fisheries, chicken, and livestock groups, rice farmers and millers, as well as corn and onion farmers.
SINAG chairman Rosendo So said Mayor Isko should be elected president because he is the only candidate who has shown genuine and sincere concern for the welfare of farmers, and the agriculture sector in general.
If elected president, Moreno has vowed to support and protect farmers and the country’s food producers as spelled out under his 10-point Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda which focuses on agriculture as one of the economic pillars to accelerate human and economic growth.
Given the chance, Moreno said among the first things that his administration will do is to clamp down on smuggling of agriculture commodities and issue clear guidelines about the strict importation of agricultural products to make sure that local producers can sell their products first before importation is made.
The government will also buy the surplus produce of farmers at the right price to assure them of their income and help them rise from poverty.
The Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate said a Moreno administration will also impose a 50 percent cut in the excise tax of petroleum products to bring down the cost of food production, especially rice, raise the income of farmers and fisherfolk, bring down the prices basic commodities and sustain food production.
Agriculture is one of the major users of petroleum products. Farmers are heavily dependent on oil products for fuel, fertilizers and pesticides to achieve high crop yields. Fisherfolks are also reliant on petroleum for their motorized boats.
In the same manner, he said that a 50 percent tax cut on electricity would mean more food on the table and more money to spend on basic needs, including medicines.
Additional support to the agriculture sector includes providing risk-free capitals to farmers and fisherfolk; building more irrigation systems while improving the efficiency of existing ones; establishment of cold storage facilities across the country and in major production areas; and establishing the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, among others.
Moreno said government will also lead the effort for farmers to adopt new technologies to further increase their productivity, and help them connect with reputable businessmen for their products.
He also vowed to prioritize the passage of a measure condoning the loans of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from the Land bank of the Philippines as part of his government’s efforts to support and protect Filipino farmers and ensure Philippine food security.
“If we can uplift our farmers’ lives, we will make a massive stride towards eradicating poverty,” said Moreno, a former basurero who became Manila councilor at age 23, Manila vice mayor at age 32 and Manila mayor at age 44.