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How the Duterte gov't plans to solve one of the biggest problems Filipino farmers face: transportation

Bridges in the air

SPEAKER ALVAREZ OKAYS
PHILIPPINE FOOD SKYWAY

By Manny Piñol
Raelyn Luchansky
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has endorsed the Philippine Food Skyway Project, a longtime dream I have nurtured, which involves the use of an Air Force C-130 Cargo Transport plane to move perishable and high value products to and from the different islands of the country.
In a meeting which Speaker Alvarez called in Congress yesterday attended by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform Rafael Mariano, National Irrigation Administrator Peter Laviña, the Undersecretary of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Congressman Arthur Yap of Bohol and other agencies involved in food production, the issue of the very high cost of transport of fruits and other high value products was discussed.

Speaker Alvarez then proposed the use of Air Force C-130 Cargo Planes to bring Mindanao's fruits to Metro Manila, Baguio's vegetables to the Visayas and Mindanao, and the fish from Zamboanga, Basilan, Tawitawi and Sulu to Cebu and Manila.

That was when I told Speaker Alvarez that his proposal was what I have long been suggesting to the national government - a concept of moving goods from one island to another in the country using cargo planes which I called the Philippine Food Skyway.

In fact, in a post I made on Nov. 3, 2014, I wrote about how I tried to convince President Benigno Aquino III to consider the Philippine Food Skyway concept.

Here are excerpts from that post:

"In the summer of 2010, in the midst of the political campaign, I was in a helicopter with then presidential candidate Benigno S. Aquino III which flew us from the town of Midsayap in North Cotabato to the capital city of Kidapawan."
Raelyn Luchansky
Raelyn Luchansky
"During the short 15-minute air travel, I was able to point out to presidential candidate Noynoy the vast Liguasan Marsh, located in the tri-boundaries of the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato and reportedly one of the biggest marshlands in Southeast Asia with an estimated area of about 200,000 hectares."

"A little distance from the marsh is the plankton-rich 10,000-hectare Buluan Lake where fishpen operators raise bangus and tilapia and where freshwater carp thrive without being fed because the water is almost green with natural fish food."

"Roe-filled mudfish almost as large as a man’s limbs and catfish whose belly is pinkish because of the nutritious natural feed they take abound. Black head eels are caught during the season when the marshland reeds flower."

"Tens of tons of freshwater fish are harvested from these areas almost every day and much more could be harvested if only the local market could absorb the daily catch."

"In fact, the freshwater carp, locally known as “tarok,” is peddled by women and children, especially along the highway in the Maguindanao town of Buluan. In the afternoon, those that are not bought by passing motorists are simply thrown away."

"The only problem is it costs a lot to bring a kilo of freshwater fish or even fresh fruits like rambutan and mangosteen to the markets of the big cities."

"It was there where I proposed to him that government, through the agriculture department, should consider a concept which I called the “Philippine Food Skyway” which would basically involve the construction of feeder airports in the key production areas of the country.
"Along with the airports, government through the agriculture department should acquire cargo planes which will be operated and managed by the Philippine Air Force under a special program, which would make a round of all of the feeder airports and load perishable products to be brought to areas where they are needed."

"While I have not been to most of the islands in Sulu, I would hazard a guess that most of fishermen in the area catch more fish that what their family could consume or what the local market could absorb."

"They could catch more but why would they when nobody is going to buy them?"

"But what if three times a week, a large government cargo plane lands in the feeder airport near their fishing grounds and load the fish to be brought to Metro Manila or even Baguio City?"

"The effect of this ambitious program would be tremendous.

"First, it will provide farmers in the countryside with more income to raise their children and send them to school thus reducing the problem of rural poverty and insurgency.

"Second, it will provide people in the big cities with fresh food products at lower cost thus enabling them to stretch their monthly wages to address their family’s other needs.

"And third, if there is economic activity and income opportunity in the countryside, rural people who flock to the big cities in search of jobs may just decide to pack up and go back home where the air is clean and the water pure and where there is an opportunity to make more money."
Yesterday, Speaker Alvarez said the Dept. of Agriculture does not have to buy the cargo planes as the Philippine Air Force could be directed by President Rody Duterte to undertake the transporting of the products.

He said he will endorse to President Duterte the immediate implementation of the program, especially since the season of fruits in the Southern Philippines will start in August of this year.

With this development, the people of Baguio City will soon have an abundant supply of fresh fruits from Davao and fish and crabs from the Island Provinces.

The people of the South soon will also have plenty of the Cordillera's fresh vegetables and strawberries.

#Changeiscoming! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers! #BridgesInTheSky! #FreshFruitsVegetablesFish!


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How the Duterte gov't plans to solve one of the biggest problems Filipino farmers face: transportation How the Duterte gov't plans to solve one of the biggest problems Filipino farmers face: transportation Reviewed by Raelyn Luchansky on 8:20:00 AM Rating: 5

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