President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, April 5, applauded the farmers and fisherfolks for their efforts in the development of the country’s agricultural and fisheries industries.
The Chief Executive led the awarding of Gawad Saka 2017 and Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan (MMK) 2017 where outstanding farmers, fisherfolks, and coastal communities were recognized.
“Today, we reiterate [their] importance in [our] collective efforts to build a stronger future for the Philippine agri-fishery sector by paying tribute to the individuals who have made impactful… contributions in driving the continued advancement of the industry,” President Duterte said in his speech.
“This year’s awardees have contributed greatly towards the development of the Philippine agricultural and fisheries industry,” he further said.
The President expressed hopes that the individuals and organizations who were honored will continue to embody the ingenuity, passion and concern for the nation in all of their undertakings.
“It is my hope that the recognition being given to you today would inspire you and your fellow farmers and fisherfolk to continue exploring new ways to further improve the ever-evolving agrarian and fishery sector,” he said.
The government, for its part, remains committed to implementing programs for agrarian and fisherfolk growth such as the free irrigation service and the TienDa stores that showcase products of local farmers and fisherfolks.
“We remain optimistic that the strides that we have made in 2017 will pave the way for a sustainable agricultural development and food security in this year and beyond,” he said.
Duterte noted that the country’s agricultural landscape is gradually reaching a new level of development after years of continued hard work and persistence to raise its productivity.
“These breakthroughs are a result of the collaborative efforts of the administration and of the previous administration and those who passed the corridors of power in their efforts to improve our lives,” he said.
The President handed over the awards to 23 winners of Gawad Saka 2017, an annual competition that recognizes the exceptional contributions of Filipino farmers and fishers to the growth of the country’s agriculture sector.
The President also led the awarding of the winners for MMK 2017, the nationwide search for outstanding coastal communities with exemplary initiatives on resource protection and conservation.
Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental was awarded as grand winner; Palompon, Leyte as 1st runner up; and Claveria, Cagayan as 2nd runner up.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced that the grand winner will receive P30 million in livelihood funds; the 1st runner up, P18 million; the 2nd runner up, 10 million.
Cortes, Surigao del Sur, the MMK Hall of Fame awardee, will receive P30 million.
Duterte: Imports above P50-million an economic sabotage
In the same speech, the President discussed a “smuggling case again today.”
“I’m going to categorize its importation above 50 million as an act of economic sabotage. So if you are caught doing it, committing the crime or about to commit, or in fact committed the crime and you are apprehended there somewhere, you will be arrested and you will be detained to face trial. And if it’s more than 50 million, no bail. So you rot in prison,” he said.
At the same time, Duterte cited the racket of bus importers wherein they apply for a single franchise but use it for three or four vehicles.
“Pati itong — itong importers ng mga bus. They import all kinds of the same quality, weight and everything. At ‘yung ibang truck, ‘yung dalawang ito kunwari, he will apply for a franchise,” he said.
“Tapos pag nandiyan na ‘yung franchise, same color and even the same engine, black number and everything, and they allow even three or four for one franchise,” he further noted.
The President warned that these bus importers would go straight to prison and would be charged economic sabotage.
“Pag nahuli ko kayo at nahuli kayo ng highway patrol, LTO, NBI or the police, you will go straight to prison,” he said.
“I will not allow you to go out until the case is filed in court. I will charge you for economic sabotage and there will be no bail for you,” he added. PND