January 22, 2017
Villar prioritizes passage of 3 bills before Holy Week break
Sen. Cynthia Villar will be focusing on the passage of three legislative proposals before Senate adjourns for the Holy Week.
The three bills, namely the Local Government Agriculture Development Act; Philippine Native Animal Development Act; and the bill expanding coverage of the National Integrated and Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act were identified as priority bills following the agreement to prioritize passage of senators' pet bills from January 16 to March 17.
"These bills were among the bills I filed to advance my legislative agenda in instituting reforms in the agriculture and environment sectors," Villar said.
Senate Bill 318 or the Local Government Agriculture Development Act is the proposal to allocate 10 percent of local government units' annual development fund for the implementation of programs for agriculture and fisheries advancement.
"This bill aims to make programs for the benefit of farmers and fisherfolks a priority among local government units, as well as continuity of agricultural programs," Villar, vice chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said.
With the growing consumption of meat among Filipinos from 15 kilos per capita to 35 kilos per capita, Villar is pushing for the breeding of native animals, which are cheaper to raise and more adaptable to the country's changing climate.
"We should turn to native animals to help us feed the growing population. We have seen problems raising imported cows; our climate is changing and these animals cannot adapt," Villar said.
Villar filed Senate Bill No. 144 which aims to promote the scientific propagation, processing, utilization and development of Philippine native animals. The bill recommends the creation of the Philippine Native Animal Development Center (PNADC).
The proposed PNADC in coordination with DA, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, native animal growers' cooperatives and organizations, LGUs and the private sector shall formulate a 20-year Framework for Development to be validated and updated annually.
The framework will serve as a guide in implementing programs, plans and projects. It will also provide for investment promotion and facilitation, production support and extension, R&D, market promotion and development, quality assurance, infrastructure development among others.
To bring the development of the industry closer to the stakeholders, the bill also seeks to create one native animal center in every region of the country that will be called Native Animal Regional Center. The active participation of farmers is also encouraged under the bill. Farmers' associations and cooperatives will serve as the focal point for government assistance in the propagation and dispersal of Philippine native animals and dissemination of technology on native animals.
"If agriculture can grow at 3 to 4%, the average for the world, poverty in the country would substantially be reduced. The growth in the Philippine agricultural sector was only 1.7% yearly for the last five years. At the moment, there is slow and inefficient delivery of government support to the agriculture sector, and very limited impact of such support.," Villar stressed.
In the environmental front, Villar is batting for the expansion of the coverage of the NIPAS law to include around 97 protected areas.
Villar, chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said she intends to improve the law and truly secure the existence and survival of native plants and animals for the Filipino people of present and future generations.
Republic Act No. 7586 otherwise known as the NIPAS Act of 1992 is considered one of the landmark Philippine legislations. The objective of NIPAS was to protect and conserve biodiversity for the social and economic benefits it provides.
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