Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima reiterated her call for the passage of a Comprehensive Land Use Act to protect farmlands from over conversion.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, maintained that the passage into law of said measure would put a stop to conversion of prime agricultural lands to other uses.
“The right to adequate food is a human right which all governments must address. This includes protection for farmers and intensified efforts in helping them bring their produce to the market at fair and competitive pricing,” she said.
“We also need to protect our farmlands and food-producing areas by enacting a Comprehensive Land Use Act which would prevent destructive developments and exploitation of land areas to the point of endangering our food security,” she added.
De Lima, Chairperson of Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said that the situation of farmers has considerably worsened because of the COVID-19 pandemic as many of them were prevented from selling their produce to the market given the travel restrictions.
“As they continue to struggle to survive their day-to-day lives, the least that we could do for them is to support and empower them, and make sure to keep agricultural lands agricultural. Hayaan sana nating yumabong ang punla nilang pagsisikap, at anihin ang inaasam nilang tiyak na kabuhayan at maginhawang kinabukasan para sa pamilya,” she stated.
“Kailangang itaguyod at mamuhunan ng gobyerno sa paglago ng mga lokal na suplay ng pagkain, lalong lalo na sa pamamagitan ng pag-aangat sa teknolohiya at kakayahan ng ating mga lokal na magsasaka, hindi ang kabaligtaran nito kung saan ang lupang sakahan ay napapabayaan at pinapatay ng komersyalismo,” she added.
According to the lady Senator from Bicol, the first thing that the government should learn from the pandemic is that a strong nation promotes, prioritizes and encourages investments in local domestic production and supply chains of essential goods, particularly the basic human need that is food.
“In short, the government has to make food security its number one priority,” stressed De Lima.
“I cannot stress this enough: the enactment of a Comprehensive Land Use Act is due, if not overdue. Allowing unregulated land conversion to persist is tantamount to putting our food security at risk. Protektahan ang mga lupang agrikultural, alalayan ang ating mga magsasakang makabangon at maitaguyod ang maayos na pamumuhay,” she added. (30)