SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, together with Mayor Ronie Osnan and Vice Mayor Melody Anne Benitez, among others, personally addressed a gathering of 2,500 farmers at a forum in Caraga, Davao Oriental on Saturday, November 18.
The event, held at the RSO Compound in Barangay Poblacion, was dedicated to understanding the concerns and needs of the farming community and provided a platform for the senator to underscore the indispensable role of farmers in Filipinos’ daily lives.
Go expressed his gratitude to the hardworking farmers who form the backbone of the nation’s food production. He emphasized that the government must continue to support and uplift the agricultural sector, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, to ensure a robust recovery and maintain food security.
“Farmers are the unsung heroes who toil day in and day out to put food on our tables. It is our duty to recognize their invaluable contributions and provide the necessary support to enhance their livelihoods,” Go stated.
Highlighting the government’s commitment to the welfare of farmers, Go outlined several initiatives aimed at bolstering the agricultural sector. He stressed the importance of ongoing efforts to provide financial assistance, modernize farming practices, and ensure access to markets for agricultural products.
“The government stands firm in its dedication to the well-being of our farmers. Through various programs and initiatives, we aim to enhance productivity, alleviate poverty in rural areas, and create a sustainable future for our agricultural communities,” Go assured the audience.
The farmers also received rice packages, vitamins, and masks. There were also select recipients of shirts, bicycles, mobile phones, shoes, watches, and balls for basketball and volleyball.
After the forum, Go briefly inspected an activity center in the town, which he funded as vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance. The facility, aimed at serving the diverse needs of the community, reflects the senator’s commitment to supporting local infrastructure projects that contribute to the overall development of rural areas.
Aside from the activity center, Go also extended his support to other projects, such as the construction of a flood mitigation structure along Manurigao River, and the construction of bridges and roads in several barangays.
“Kahit saan ako pumunta sa buong Pilipinas, mayroon na ba nakarating na senador dito noon? Ako nakarating ako ng Batanes, Aparri, Jolo tumulong sa bagyo, sunog, putok ng bulkan. Dahil ang pangako namin sa Pilipino kahit saan kayo pupuntahan namin kayo. Dahil ‘yan po ang aming ipinangako – makatulong, makabigay ng tulong sa inyong mga problema, makatulong sa mga pasyente, at makapag-iwan po ng kaunting kasiyahan sa inyong mga mukha,” reaffirmed Go.
The senator, in his speech, reaffirmed his pledge to continue advocating for policies that empower farmers and contribute to the nation’s food security. Acknowledging the significant role played by agricultural workers in the country’s food production, Go emphasized that it is imperative to furnish them with the necessary support and resources.
Go was one of the authors of Republic Act No. 11901, which expanded the financing framework for agriculture, fisheries, and rural development. Additionally, the lawmaker was a co-sponsor and co-author in the Senate for the legislation that later became RA 11953, also known as the New Agrarian Emancipation Act. This law condones loans incurred by agrarian reform beneficiaries, including the associated interests, penalties, and surcharges.
Moreover, Go filed SBN 2117, a proposal aimed at ensuring extensive crop insurance protection for agrarian reform beneficiaries. Simultaneously, SBN 2118, another bill authored by Go, seeks to bolster insurance coverage and services for farmers, addressing the agricultural sector’s susceptibility to the repercussions of natural disasters, provided these bills are enacted into law.
The senator also underscored the significance of enhancing competitiveness and protecting local farmers and industries in light of the recently ratified Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. With increased competition resulting from RCEP, the costs of goods is projected to decrease, which Go hopes ordinary Filipinos would benefit from this development.
“Kung ano ang inaaprubahan namin sa Senado sinisigurado namin na makakatulong sa inyong lahat na mga farmers, sa ikakabuti ng mga farmers. Iyan talaga ang lagi naming isinusulong palagi, kung ano ang makakatulong sa ating mga kababayang mahihirap, kung ano ang makakatulong sa ating magsasaka. Pipilitin naming tumulong sa inyong lahat sa abot ng aming makakaya,” he concluded.
On the same day, Go attended the groundbreaking ceremony of a Super Health Center in Caraga. He also inspected the site of a Super Health Center and witnessed the turnover of motorboat engines in Mati City.