Vice President Leni Robredo announced Monday her plans to double the share of the agriculture sector to 3.4 percent of the government’s annual budget to P116 billion if she wins the presidential race next year.
“My commitment is to double the agriculture’s share to the total annual budget which now is around 1.7 percent. That is about P116 billion, twice more than the current P58 billion allocated to agriculture,” she said Monday during the “Halalan 2021 Para sa Agrikultura” forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, Inc.
She, however, acknowledged that increasing the budget will not be enough to support the sector.
“There has to be a fair distribution of funds among sub sectors. Those needing the most support will be given what is due them,” she said.
“We should give merit where it is due. We have to justify the amount of support given to a subsector, the same goes for per commodity basis,” Robredo added.
Robredo specifically mentioned the fisheries sub sector as one of the sub sectors that has been cash-strapped for the “longest time” compared to huge support given to rice estimated at almost P16 billion yearly.
Fisheries is allotted only a fifth of the support given to rice, she said, and given the vast expanse of Philippine waters compared to land, Robredo said this is one area of agriculture the country should focus on.
Meanwhile, with former Presidents Gloria Arroyo and Joseph Estrada backing ex-Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’ presidential bid, Robredo said the 2022 elections could very well serve as a “reset button.”
“Our politics seems to be exclusive to one who has the money, the name,” she said.
“I think 2022 is a very very important election now that the biggest political (groups) and families have joined forces. This is the chance for us to have a reset button should we defeat them. Let us start a new kind of politics wherein all may have the chance (to participate),” she added.