PH is an agriculture country, Duterte says
President Rodrigo Duterte has maintained that Philippines is an agriculture country, providing a sight of relief to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol who has been asking for a greater focus on the sector he is tasked to develop.
Piñol said Duterte’s pronouncement “quashed all misgivings on the fate of agriculture under his administration”.
Duterte made the statement in Buluan, Maguindanao where the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) distributed land titles to over 7,000 Christian and Moro farmers from the different provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“We do not have oil like our neighbours. What we have is our land so we will always be an agricultural country,” Duterte said, as cited by Piñol.
Piñol said the statement gave him a great relief and lifted his sagging spirits after over two years of “seeming indifference” among the government’s key planners and policy makers in terms of agriculture.
“The Presidential declaration once and for all clears up the fate of Agriculture and Fisheries under this Administration resulting from statements like ‘Agriculture is not our priority’ and the lean towards dependence on importation,” Piñol said.
In 2018, agriculture and fisheries received a budget equivalent to less than 2 percent of the Annual General Appropriations.