Duterte to focus on food security in first 100 days

Pia Ranada
Aside from quashing crime and corruption, Duterte says he wants to ensure the availability and affordability of food in his first 100 days as president

DUTERTE PLATFORM. Rodrigo Duterte speaks at #TheLeaderIWant Forum in De La Salle University in Taft on January 20, 2016

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte said he will focus on ensuring food security during his first 100 days in office, aside from cracking down on criminality and corruption

He said this during an interview aired on GMA’s dzBB radio station on Tuesday, February 2.

Asked what his priorities would be during his presidency, he said, “I must see to it that for the billionaires and the poorest, there is food on the table and it is affordable. Simultaneous[ly], I will suppress crime, kill drugs, corruption.” 

The presidential bet from southern Philippines is running on a platform heavily bent towards fighting criminality, controlling the spread of drugs, and ending corruption in government agencies. Read about his entire platform here.

But during the interview, Duterte spelled out some of his proposals for alleviating poverty.

For one, he said he would keep the Aquino administration’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or conditional cash transfer program in which the poorest families receive money to buy food, pay for health care and education. 

Pantawid, ime-maintain ko ‘yan. Yung pang-ulam dagdagan mo (I will maintain the Pantawid program. Increase their funds for food),” he added.

Ensuring enough affordable food would entail giving Filipino farmers more support, especially in times when natural events make it difficult for them to produce crops, he said.

Singling out Roxas, again

He criticized Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II for supposedly giving out farm implements during sorties in a time of El Niño.

“Si Roxas, nagpapamigay ng farm implements. If you really want to help farmers, the soil is cracking all over, pumapasok na. We are down in our production of food and bigay mo sila ng araro diyan. That’s politics and stupidity,” he said.

(Roxas is giving away farm implements. If you really want to help farmers, the soil is cracking all over, El Niño is here. We are down in our production of food and you give them plows. That’s politics and stupidity.) 

Plows, he said, would not help farmers who can’t grow crops because of the drought: “You are giving them these things during a time they won’t need it.”

To help farmers, Duterte said in his platform with running mate Alan Peter Cayetano, that he would give them loans and take out the irrigation fee currently being imposed on farmers by the government. 

He would also build a Mindanao Railway System to lessen the cost of transporting food in the southern island and crack down on loan sharks and dishonest middlemen taking advantage of farmers.

Other poverty alleviating measures he cited were proposed bills to stop taxing citizens who earn P20,000 and below in monthly salaries. 

But asked where he would get the funds the government would inevitably lose from this measure, he said he would “get the money” but how he’ll do it is a “trade secret.” – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.