The House of Representatives has adopted a resolution expressing its commitment to enact the proposed P66-billion supplemental budget of the Department of Agriculture to support its programs in addressing the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
During plenary session, the lower chamber adopted House Resolution 925 as a pledge to pass the budget for the stimulus package to the agriculture sector to ensure food security, food supply, availability, and price stability.
"As part of its commitment and resolve to help in the efforts to alleviate the condition of every Filipino affected by the enhanced community quarantine and variants thereof, during these difficult times, the House of Representatives pledges to pass the proposed supplemental budget of the Department of Agriculture to address the urgent need of ensuring the country's food and nutrition security, and for the sector to contribute to the country's faster economic recovery," the resolution read.
In his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address, President Duterte highlighted the major role of the agriculture sector in propelling the country’s economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The growth of our economy depends on a robust agricultural sector,” Duterte said.
He cited the P66-billion stimulus package — dubbed as "Plant, Plant, Plant" Program — proposed by the DA to both the Senate and the House of Representatives to help the country’s agriculture and fishery sector recover from the economic slowdown due to the pandemic.
“We aim to provide adequate, accessible, and affordable food for every Filipino through the Plant, Plant, Plant Program,” Duterte said.
The stimulus package funds the following initiatives: P31 billion for the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra sa Covid-19 Program to raise agricultural productivity while ensuring food sufficiency through rice buffer stocking, steady food supply, and stable prices; P20 billion for the Food Logistics Plan to make sure that agricultural commodities are accessible and affordable; and P15 billion for the Cash for Work Program to assist landless farmers and displaced workers.
For his part, Agriculture Sec. William Dar said he hopes Congress would approve the P66-billion agriculture sector stimulus package as part of the ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act’ or Bayanihan Part 2. This is on top of the regular 2020 DA budget.
“The Plant, Plant, Plant program does not only cover rice, corn, and major commercial crops, but also livestock, fisheries, and other agri-fishery related commodities and interventions — to attain food security and increase the incomes of farmers, fishers and agripreneurs,” said Dar.