The President’s SONA is one that gives me hope to finally address one of our perennial problems in Benguet – agricultural smuggling. The pronouncement of the President will become a national policy pero hindi pa natin alam kung ilan na lang ang araw na bibilangin ng smugglers at hoarders, but if the President says so, I trust that it will happen soon. As a legislator, it is our job to come up with laws that will make this happen.

In fact, on the first day of Congress last year, we filed House Bill 319 which will effectively increase the penalty for large-scale agricultural smuggling, along with other House Bills that I filed for the advancement of the agricultural sector in Benguet. Agriculture smuggling however, is just part of a bigger problem. We need more and functioning cold storage facilities that our farmers can use. Kaya po tayo ay nag-draft na ng panukala na magpapatayo ng sapat na Cold Storage Facilities sa iba’t ibang strategic locations sa ating probinsya.

We also need to continue improving and providing accessibility thru more farm to market roads and we will continue to strive for more funding from the national government for more roads in remote farming areas in our province. But as a safety net, we will file a House Bill that will create and institutionalize the Countrywide Development Fund which will ensure regular and sufficient funding for the construction of farm to market roads yearly in all agricultural provinces in the country.

We salute the President for putting premium on the government’s efforts against agricultural smuggling, we need his strong support on this and we need those words to come out from him, which it did. It is now my prayer that the implementing agencies will walk the talk. Para mabilang na ang araw ng mag sumuggler at hoarders.

Amianan Balita Ngayon