CLARK FREEPORT – “Hunger is government’s most dangerous enemy.”
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial bet Jack Enrile issued this warning before government officials and other leaders of the province of Pangasinan who gathered here over the weekend for their 10th Liga ng mga Barangay Congress.
Enrile cited the food riot that happened recently in Davao City wherein thousands of hungry victims of typhoon Pablo from Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental stormed the local office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“The fact that the victims of Pablo were forced to raid the DSWD office to get food supplies was saddening but inevitable because of the delay in the delivery of the much needed items,” Enrile said.
He quoted the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca, who said that “a hungry people listens not to reason, nor cares for justice, nor is bent by prayers.”
He added that he doesn’t see the same thing happening in Pangasinan.
“Not only have your leaders put up evacuation centers, but they’ve also taken contingency measures to address food, water, medicine and other shortages during calamities,” he pointed out. “Pangasinan has been blessed that of its land area of 536,819 hectares, 44 percent is agricultural land that ensures the food supply of its people and neighboring areas.”
Enrile stated the large number of food products in Pangasinan that include palay, corn, mango, sugar cane — aside from the famous Dagupan bangus and bagoong (fish/shrimp paste). “Even your livelihood sources are primarily centered on agriculture like maguey production and handicraft, bamboo craft, seaweed farming, oyster and aquaculture farming and bagoong processing,” he added.
“I am honored to have been invited to address the meeting because the issue of food security has been my advocacy as a congressman, one that I will vigorously pursue in the Senate if elected into the upper chamber in May,” he said.
He had earlier lamented the fact that statistics show 20 percent of the Philippine population goes hungry while 40 percent lacks food on a daily basis. “Our people should not go hungry. All Filipino families should always have ample, nutritious food on the table, at prices that are within their reach.”
He said this is possible if the government would support and pursue his Food Master Plan that will cover, among others, policies to ensure agricultural production and efficient delivery of food products at affordable prices.
“Hunger as an enemy of the government and of the people, can be defeated,” Enrile concluded.