Press Release
July 24, 2013

Villar gets agriculture committee chairmanship, vows to prioritize reforms

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, after getting the chairmanship of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said she is prioritizing measures that will reform and develop the agriculture sector.

"Thirty percent of the working population depends on agriculture as their livelihood, more people will be helped if we develop this sector through reforms and strict implementation of existing laws," Villar said.

Villar said among the first activities of her committee is a briefing by the Department of Agriculture on the state of agriculture in the country, as well as an assessment of the programs implemented by the department.

The members of the committee representing the majority bloc are Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senators Grace Poe, Antonio Trillanes IV, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara and Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino, IV. The minority bloc is set to name their committee members in today's session.

Villar, also known as Misis Hanep Buhay, said there is a need to enact a legislation that will fast-track the construction and rehabilitation of irrigation systems in the country. She authored Senate Bill No. 34, which proposes a six-year accelerated irrigation program. Under the bill, provinces with low irrigation development or productivity yield will be prioritized, as well as fourth, fifth and sixth class municipalities.

"Irrigation is critical in order to improve production but it seems it's never finished. This bill will mandate the National Irrigation Administration to pinpoint all the irrigation facilities needed and do it in six years," she said.

The Nacionalista Party senator said she specifically asked for this committee to help in the agenda of bringing about development in the rural areas.

She said what needs to be done to improve agriculture is to go beyond planting and to seriously consider the use of modern technology to develop the system of processing harvested crops.

"If we improve the technique of prolonging the life of harvested fruits and crops, we are not only producing variety of products, we will also be providing more employment opportunities for the people," she said.

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