A PARTY-LIST lawmaker on Thursday sought to institutionalize the rights of agriculture workers who account for approximately 40 percent of the country’s underemployment and 29 percent of unemployment, in order to improve their plight especially in this time of the pandemic.
In House Bill (HB) 7133 or the Magna Carta for Workers in the Agricultural Development Sectors which Ang Probinsyano Rep. Alfred Delos Santos filed, he expressed hope to address the gaps in the agriculture sector, which has the highest poverty incidence at 34 percent based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
“Nakalungkot pong isipin na as an agricultural country, our farmers are experiencing poverty and underemployment. It is the main source of livelihood and food for a lot of Filipinos pero sila po ang naghihirap at walang makain,” said Delos Santos, ally and friend of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) led by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez as President.
Delos Santos added that the importance of the agriculture sector was further highlighted in the face of the public health crisis due to COVID-19.
“Nakita po natin kung gaano kahalaga na magkaroon ng food security ang ating bansa lalong-lalo na sa panahon ng sakuna or emergency tulad ng nararanasan natin ngayong pandemiya,” said Delos Santos.
“Masosolusyonan natin ito kung mas dadami pa ang mga kababayan natin na papasok sa sektor ng agrikultura. And we can assure this by providing the necessary rights and benefits to those involved and interested in pursuing a career in agriculture. Because I envision our country to be agriculturally independent at hindi na aasa pa sa importation ng mga agricultural products,” he explained.
Hopefully, Delos Santos said, his proposed measure will address the needs of the farmers and the support to boost the sector, as he lamented the low contribution of agriculture to the gross domestic product (GDP) over the years.
“Sa pamamagitan po nito, mas mabibigyan po natin ng tamang atensiyon ang kalagayan ng ating mga magsasaka, mapangalagaan ang kanilang mga karapatan, at para maisaayos ang pagbibigay ng karampatang mga benepisyo na nararapat para sa kanila,” Delos Santos said.