Department of ‘Importation’? Cynthia Villar flags DA’s importation policy anew
MANILA, Philippines — Given its importation records, it is no surprise for Senator Cynthia Villar that the Department of Agriculture is being called the “Department of Importation.”
During the hearing of the Senate committee on agriculture on Wednesday, Villar reminded the DA that importation should just have been been a temporary, and not a permanent solution, to supply shortage.
Its mandate is also to give livelihood to local farmers, and not to importers, the senator stressed.
“Ang inyong mandate is to have a developmental program that will produce enough supply for the Philippines at a competitive price. ‘Yun ang mandate ninyo. Hindi ninyo mandate na kung may gustong mag-import, bibigyan ninyo ng import permit. That’s not your mandate,” Villar said.
(Your mandate is to have a developmental program that will produce enough supply for the Philippines at a competitive price. That’s your mandate. It’s not your mandate to give an import permit to anyone who wants to import. That’s not your mandate.)
“Pag ganun ang inyong mandate eh tatawagin nga kayong Department of Importation, hindi kayo Department of Agriculture. ‘Yan ang tawag sa inyo eh,” she also said.
Villar made the remarks when she opened the hearing on her bill that seeks to develop and promote the yellow corn industry “to enhance the availability of affordable and quality feeds” in the country.
The senator lamented that since 2019, there has been a surplus on yellow corn supply in the country, citing the records of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
“So our aim is to produce corn so we don’t have to import and then we produce it a price na competitive. ‘Yun ang intention nitong bill na ito,” the panel head explained.
“Sana malagay sa isip ng ating Department of Agriculture na…we will always aim that we produce what we need. Dapat supply is equal demand,” she pointed out.
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