Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile today assured farmers of Nueva Ecija province of his continued support in the enactment of laws that would create an enabling environment for the agriculture sector to flourish.
Speaking before the 113th Unang Sigaw ng Nueva Ecija Celebration in Palayan City, Enrile promised to push for the protection of the welfare of farmers and agricultural workers, given the alarming developments in both the global and national levels.
"Majority of our people are dependent solely on agriculture for employment and livelihood. However, it is ironic that while this sector contributes significantly to our economy, it is also home to the nation's poorest of the poor," he said.
The senate president, acknowledging that Nueva Ecija has emerged as one of the most progressive provinces in the country today, earning titles such as Rice Granary of the Country, Milk Capital of the Philippines, said he was proud to note that Novo Ecijanos were winning the war against poverty and hunger, even with the country being caught in the "vagaries of the global economic system, and climate change."
Enrile extolled the importance of working hand-in-hand in helping to uplift the lives of fellow Filipinos, saying that that the best way to address poverty, increasing unemployment and rising hunger in many parts of the country was to give the agriculture sector all the necessary support it needed, such as good farm-to-market roads, irrigation networks, post-harvest facilities, fish ports, ice plants and cold storage and lower electricity cost.
"Apart from the agricultural infrastructure, farmers and agricultural workers must also be provided access to credit and technical expertise. Government must invest more in modern technology and research and development to boost farm productivity. Moreover, we must ensure that farmers are the direct beneficiaries of the government's agriculture programs," he added.
Enrile commended the organizers of the event, led by Governor Aurelio "Oyie" Matias Umali, who, he said, gave homage to the uncommon valor, extraordinary courage and strong determination of the Novo Ecijano revolutionaries for giving up their lives to liberate the country from Spanish rule.
"The importance of this event in our nation's history must be emphasized, especially among the youth, because it signaled the participation of the province in the revolt against Spain. Nueva Ecija was one of the first eight provinces that revolted against Spain, hence, it has the distinct honor of being represented in the eight rays of the sun in our national flag," he further said.