Partido Reporma chairman and presidential candidate Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said the government should buy at least 50 percent of total agricultural output from Filipino farmers and fisherfolk to avert huge potential income losses.
According to his running mate, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, the original idea for this kind of government intervention came from Partido Reporma secretary-general and Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib, who has already been implementing a similar program in his province.
“One of our programs for the farmers and fisherfolk is that 50 percent of their output will be bought by the government directly at their own price without the middleman,” Sotto said during a public forum held over the weekend during the sidelines of their weekly “Online Kumustahan” event at the Nevalga Farm assembly hall in Cabuyao City, Laguna.
By cutting out the middlemen in the process, it would help keep the food prices competitive in the local markets without affecting the potential earnings of farmers and fishermen, according to the vice presidential candidate.
Sotto explained this plan has already been incorporated into their Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) agenda, which will be their flagship program should he and Lacson both get elected as vice president and president of the country respectively.
At the core of the BRAVE policy is the rationalization of the entire budget process where local government units could have greater influence over the National Expenditure Program of the state, resulting in better public funding for more appropriate and inclusive social services.
“When you disburse the money to the provinces, there is a corresponding mandate. It should be spent where it is intended. There will be a menu. You cannot use those funds inappropriately,” Sotto said of the BRAVE program.
Under this mechanism, both Lacson and Sotto are hoping to alleviate the plight of farmers, fishermen, and everyone in the agricultural industry whose livelihoods remain vulnerable to economic pressures on top of the negative effects of natural calamities.