By Ben Rosario
Pouring more investments in agriculture development, climate change adaptation and mitigation can be the best formula in addressing the slow growth in gross domestic products registered during the third quarter of the year.
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat made this recommendation as he noted that the disastrous effects of typhoons that battered Luzon had contributed to the slow GDP growth as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Baguilat said the natural disasters had weakened the farming sector.
“The weakness of the agriculture sector was confirmed by the lower-than-expected third-quarter growth,” said Baguilat.
He added: “Thus it stands to reason that the economic managers, particularly the Department of Agriculture, should pursue with more urgent measures to boost agriculture output and adapt to climate change.“
Among these are investments in irrigation and watershed protection considering that the Philippines has been identified as among the most vulnerable countries to climate change.
“These, in turn, will hamper economic growth over the long term.
“No real economic growth is possible if sustainable development goals are not equally observed,” he said.
What sense is profit if people and the planet are left behind?,” said Baguilat.
Baguilat said that with strategic and increased investments in critical watersheds, for example, the Philippines will be assured of water supply to urban cities and critical farmland. Deadly landslides and siltation will also be minimized.
“Destroy the watersheds and we end up losing critical water sources and eventually, our agriculture sector will suffer, even more, Baguilat said.
The opposition lawmaker stated: “This means that the productivity of our already vulnerable fishermen and fisherfolk will dwindle and keep them in the grip of poverty. “
“We cannot have that. They are already the most affected by rising food prices. We should do all we can to boost that farm output to keep prices down and increase the revenues of our food producers,” said Baguilat.
Meanwhile, Baguilat also called for the passage of the long-delayed National Land Use Act and the Indigenous Communities Conservation Areas, saying that this will ensure that prime agricultural land will not be reduced to give way to runaway urbanization and that indigenous peoples’ cultural practices as they relate to agriculture and the environment ill be protected.
Baguilat authored the two measures.
“We should prioritize food security and protect the land that we already have. As it is, we are already hard pressed to produce enough food to feed our growing population. We cannot afford to reduce that even further. WIth the National Land Use Act, there will be proper delineation of areas for agriculture and for other development purposes,” he said. (Ben R. Rosario)