Bello: Isko just ‘Duterte 2.0’ on agriculture

Laban ng Masa vice presidential candidate Walden Bello on Friday hit presidential candidate Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso for being nothing more than a “Duterte 2.0” when it comes to agriculture.

Commenting on the agriculture plan presented by Manila Mayor Domagoso yesterday in Tarlac, Bello said the latter’s proposals are just a rehashed version of President Rodrigo Duterte’s failed anti-farmer policy.

Bello said: “It is disappointing that, despite promising to be on the side of the poor, Moreno sounds more like a Duterte wannabe: instead of siding with our farmers, he too is hellbent on becoming a stooge of the WTO (World Trade Organization) and an underling of giant multinational agri-companies and their local billionaire agents.”

Meanwhile, Domagoso likely would not “adopt” candidates for his senatorial slate.

To date, the Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate has only three Senate contenders on his ticket -- Mindanao civic leader Samira Mutoc, entrepreneur Carl Balita, and lawyer Jopet Sison.

This is Mutoc’s second shot at the Senate run after her 2019 bid under the “Otso Diretso” slate of the Liberal Party. Balita and Sison are both first-time Senate candidates.

Also, Domagoso on Friday backed the creation of a Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, which is separate and independent from the existing Department of Agriculture.

If elected president in 2022 elections, Moreno vowed to certify as an urgent measure seeking the separation of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) from the agriculture department to ensure that the would-be DFAR will focus on how to help fishermen earn more.

Sison, a former Quezon City councilor known for co-hosting the legal drama show “Ipaglaban Mo” with his father, Jose Sison, replaced veteran broadcaster Noli De Castro, who withdrew from the race a few days after filing his Certificate of Candidacy.

Responding to questions why his senatorial slate is not yet complete, Domagoso said he is not inclined to be adopting candidates.

“I don’t want to be like other parties that keep adopting other candidates for the sake of filling slots,” said the Aksyon standard bearer.

Party chairperson Ernest Ramel said Domagoso wants an “exclusive” senatorial slate with candidates who will not support any other presidential bet except him.

Ramel said there’s a slim chance they will accommodate guest senatorial candidates.

“We don’t want a senatorial candidate who’s in this lineup or that lineup or going to a stage with this presidential candidate and then next in a stage with a presidential candidate,” stressed Ramel.

So far, re-electionists Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senators Richard Gordon and Joel Villanueva, Sorsogon Governor Francis Escudero, and former Vice President Jejomar Binay are guest candidates of three political parties.

“I will separate it so that there will be a right person or group of people that will address the concerns of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, while those who are experts in rice and high value crops will stay with the Department of Agriculture,” Moreno said.

Moreno made the commitment during a dialogue with some 100 farmers in Barangay Banaba in Tarlac City Thursday. Moreno was joined by his vice-presidential bet Doc Willie Ong, and Gutoc, Balita, and Sison.

Moreno’s proposal came after he was asked by Kagawad Roy Pascua of Barangay Labney, San Jose, Tarlac, on what he will do to further increase the production of tilapia so that residents of third- and fourth-class municipalities in their province will have enough supply of it, especially during the rainy season.

“The creation of DFAR or having a centralized agency that will give more attention to, and support for, the sustainable development of the country’s fisheries and aquatic resources will not only benefit workers in the fisheries sector but also the present and future generations of Filipinos,” Moreno stressed.

Fisheries is a branch of science for producing fish and other aquatic resources for the purpose of providing human food, although other aims are possible, such as sport or recreational fishing, or obtaining ornamental fish or fish products such as fish oil.

Aquatic resources, on the other hand, refer to wetlands, streams, lakes, rivers, springs, seeps, reservoirs, ponds, groundwater, riparian areas, and the fauna that reside within them.

Aquatic resources include permanent, seasonal, flowing, standing, natural, or man-made water bodies.

“If we separate BFAR from DA, fishermen are guaranteed, land-based agricultural products are guaranteed. Both have attention then the person has peace of mind that he has machi-chicha (food) because if we believe that threat to national security is food security then the government should ensure that there is sufficient supply of fish and sufficient supply of rice and vegetables for the peoples consumption,” Moreno said.

To ensure that fish and agricultural produce of farmers and fishermen will remain fresh, Moreno will also order the procurement of installation of cold storage facilities for agricultural regions and provinces where fishing is the main source of livelihood.

“So why not balance food? Where did you see . . . so I included the one with vegetables, the storage because that’s really the end game.

The fish, where did you see the fish in the tub with only ice. You bought half of the fish in the tub, you’re still short on crude, aren’t you? The waves hit you, the other half was not sold. What will happen? It will rot,” Moreno noted.

Moreno noted that the reason why many fishermen resort to drying their fish is due to the absence of cold storage facilities in their respective towns or provinces.

“What are you going to do, preserve them as dried fish? But dried fish are salty. But you have no choice but to preserve them as dried fish.

Why preserve them as dried fish? Because there is no storage facility.

And there is no government dedicated to you. You are just hoping that these dried fishes would be sold,” Moreno lamented.

Topics: Walden Bello , Isko Moreno , Rodrigo Duterte , World Trade Organization
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