MAKATI CITY (Vivien Bautista / 26 Jun) North Cotabato Governor Emmanual Pinol urged print media publishers to help magnify the call for a refocused agriculture in the Philippines.
Speaking before members of the Publishers’ Association of the Philippines, Incorporated during the PAPI annual conference at the Makati Sports Club at the weekend, Pinol said "it is time that we shed off our “Bahay Kubo” mentality."
“The image of a nipa hut with a variety of plants growing around it is romantic, but it will not give Filipinos the prosperity they long for," the governor said.
Referring to Malaysia as an example, the governor said Philippine agriculture should be focused on marketable crops with global demand.
“Malaysia has only two major crops, oil palm and rubber, but it is number one in both in terms of production and technology, and has gained greatly from the strong market demand for both commodities,” he said.
“Our own experience in North Cotabato proves that a market-oriented agricultural development program is a potent tool in combating poverty in the countryside,” he added.
North Cotabato was recently included by the National Statistics Board in the list of Philippines provinces with the least poverty incidence, ranking 30th next to Pangasinan and a notch above South Cotabato.
The province was listed in 1997 as the fifth poorest in the country.
“Our focus on market-oriented agriculture has improved the economic situation of our people, and this means only one thing – that we are on the right path in our efforts to improve the lives of our people in North Cotabato,” Piñol said.
The politician has been encouraging agriculture officials led by Department of Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban to give more attention to globally in-demand commodities like coconut, oil palm and rubber. “Our friends in the media can do a lot in popularizing this advocacy and in showing Filipinos that there is hope for our beloved Philippines.”