Press Release
July 11, 2022

Grace Poe on the possible declaration of a state of emergency/calamity on food security

The crisis on food security did not happen overnight; it was brought about by those pushing for wider importation that disadvantaged local farmers and is a culmination of the worsening problems faced by the agricultural sector.

In fact, during the 18th Congress, the Senate committee of the whole already tackled the issue on agricultural smuggling, which brought into light just how pervasive and deeply rooted our problems are in this sector. Farm produce continue to be imported without sanitary phytosanitary safeguards, and full digitalization of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) system remains a far-away dream.

The call to declare a state of emergency on the current food crisis is only viable if it comes with absolute transparency on the steps to be taken, as well as a much-needed overhaul on and the full digitalization of BOC system and processes — measures which are long overdue.

We have had numerous declarations of a state of emergency and some had lasted longer than necessary. We must be careful with such declarations as some could use it to justify wanton importation and relaxation of controls on imported goods that will only further cripple the sector.

Agriculture requires careful planning and long-term commitment.

We need a more permanent approach in the framework of the Right to Adequate Food — a bill which I have filed over and over again including in this Congress. This proposed measure seeks to establish a legal framework for the recognition and protection of the right to adequate food.

We're open to discussing possible solutions to this crisis with the new administration and I believe that the President personally taking the helm of the Department of Agriculture signifies just how important this crisis is.

We must move quickly. Walang Pilipino ang dapat magutom at responsibilidad ng pamahalaan na siguruhin ito. I thus call on my colleagues to support this bill so that it can pass into law at the soonest possible time.

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