February 1, 2022
Senatorial aspirant Risa Hontiveros affirmed a vision in “Pagtanaw 2050” for Philippines to be one “truly great maritime nation” in light of the country’s archipelagic nature as its most uniquely significant economic asset.
At the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI)-organized Halalan Para sa Agrikultura 2020 Monday, Hontiveros assured Philippines will have its biggest economic potential in harnessing its marine resources, more than any of its land or capital.
“I recall advocacies for us to teach our maritime history to our people since our seas are bigger than our lands. I congratulate you for your ‘Pagtanaw 2050’ as even goes beyond ‘Ambisyon 2040,’ said Hontiveros in Filipino during the agriculture online forum Monday.
“That can be a legislative input in support of our fishermen at for all Filipinos who have legitimate claim to energy resources in the entire West Philippine Sea.”
Hontiveros said the Philippines should highlight this distinctive islands-nation feature whether on regional or global stages.
“This should be known by every Filipino, every student, to internalize such identity, and we should behave, should act such in regional and global stages.”
The forum led by PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto was co-organized by Alyansa Agrikultura Convenor Ernesto Ordonez, National Scientist Emil Q. Javier, Federation of Free Farmers Chairman Leonardo Q. Montemayor, and Rice Watch President Hazel Tanchuling.
The Pagtanaw 2050 visioning, led by the National Academy of Science and Technology, noted that $3 trillion will be generated from ocean industries based Overseas for Economic Cooperation and Development forecast. Javier asserted Pagtanaw 2050’s role in agriculture modernization which will need the establishment of a separate Department of Fisheries.
The “Blue Economy” (sustainable ocean-focused) approach to economic prosperity is imperative for the Philippines’ provision of livelihood, food security, and industry raw materials, according to Pagtanaw 2050.
Investments have to be made on coastal transport, ecotourism, habitat protection, and water use and supply management, among others.
With 60 million Filipinos living in low-elevation coastal zones, economic opportunities will be on tourism (now with 5.71 million workers), resorts, coastal development, fisheries and aquaculture (1.6 million workers), coastal manufacturing (300,000 workers), ports, shipping, marine transport, ocean energy (with coal now taking up 40% of energy mix), seabed mining for oil, marine biotechnology and medicine, and environmental services. The Filipino protein diet of 40% comes from fisheries, and some 30 million Filipinos depend on it and related industries for livelihood.
Among emerging industries and technologies from the Blue Economy are bioenergy through algal biofuel production, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, feeds and beverages; multi-trophic aquaculture, and food and medicine.
“The contribution of ocean-based industries to economic output and employment is very significant. In 2010, this was valued very conservatively at $1.5 trillion or approximately 2.5% of world gross value added. Direct full time employment in the ocean economy amounted to around 31 million jobs,” according to Pagtanaw 2050.
Regarding land reform which has yet to be completed in the Philippines, Hontiveros said that the efforts now to “cluster” lands in order to achieve economies of scale is not opposite to the effort in agrarian reform.
Fausto cited studies that the agriculture sector cannot achieve economies of scale due to the fragmentation of land brought by land reform.
“There should be a win-win solution (land reform versus clustering). Department of Agrarian Reform has a project called Split funded by World Bank. Their job on one hand is to break down lands and on the other, to consolidate lands. To achieve economies of scale and lower cost of production, there should be a solution to this for our agriculture production,” Fausto said.
“Wag po nila gawing problema ng agrikultura yung isang kasing halaga na programa ng repormang agraryo. May win-win solution po talaga kung ikakambal, ituturing nilang magkapatid yung dalawang programang. May iba’t iba pong modelo iyon,” she said.
“Yung empowerment ng ating mga agrarian reform beneficiaries, kahit sa unang award sa kanila at kahit pa ipamana na sa kanilang mga anak sa mas maliliit na parcel pero (dapat may ) programa talaga ang ating gobyerno in partnership sa ialng mga private sector (para sa agrikultura),” said Hontiveros. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)