Press Release
July 3, 2015


Sen. Chiz Escudero is asking the government to come up with concrete measures to address the plight of the country's impoverished farmers, who play a crucial role in achieving food security and self-sufficiency.

Escudero said the government should begin with ensuring decent wages to close to 12 million farm workers, comprising almost one-third of the country's entire labor force.

"Measures must be drawn up to ensure decent wages to farm workers and improve their status in society," Escudero said. "This is the best way to make our country's economic growth inclusive because it will target the most impoverished sector in our society."

Escudero noted that a significant proportion of farm workers in the country live just at or below the poverty line.

"In order to ensure the sustainability of the agriculture sector and food security, it becomes imperative for the government to safeguard the interest of farmers by assuring them decent levels of income and sustainable livelihoods," he added.

Escudero underscored the need to provide farmers with better infrastructure and access to funding programs that would enable them produce food as efficiently as possible and feed the country's rapidly expanding population.

The senator issued the statement after Budget Secretary Florencio Abad admitted that not being able to implement a wage increase for local farmers was the country's biggest missed opportunity under the Aquino administration.

Latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that the agriculture sector employed 11.84 million individuals in 2013, representing 31 percent of the national employment.

In the first half of 2013, the daily nominal wage rates were P256.52 for palay farm workers and P206.04 for corn farm workers.

Escudero said the dire conditions of Filipino farmers merely highlight the sorry state of the country's agricultural sector.

"It's sad to say but agriculture remains to be a poor man's sector. Despite being a huge asset to national development, agriculture has been the most neglected and least understood sector of the nation's economy," Escudero lamented.

Escudero was confident that helping farmers improve their living condition standards would eventually result in increased production of locally grown staple and steady supply of agricultural products.

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