January 29, 2023

Benguet caretaker Rep. Eric Go Yap has filed a bill mandating food service establishments to buy directly from local farmers for their food needs.
House Bill 7136 titled “Marketing and Utilization of Local Agricultural Product Act of 2020” aims to make local farmers the priority as a source for local produce of hotels, restaurants, and catering services.
“Ito ay para siguruhin na may tuluy-tuloy na kita ang ating mga magsasaka at walang masasayang na ani at para tiyakin na sariwa at mura ang mabibili na agri produce ng food service establishments. Sa ilalim ng panukalang ito, magkakaroon ng mekanismo kung paano magiging konektado ang business owners at farmers o producers na pinakamalapit sa kanila,” Yap said.
He added the bill also pushes for the centralization of food sources and putting up of a central market in various provinces to connect the market to the producers.
The measure will also encourage food service establishments to consider buying from local farmers instead of opting for imported vegetables.
He said several big establishments currently import vegetables from China at cheaper price but has lower quality compared to local produce. Filipino farmers, on the other hand, complained that smuggled vegetables from China flood the local market and competes with local fruits and vegetables.
“Pero kapag batas na ito, kahit magpasok sila ng galing China na gulay kahit napakamura niyan, kailangan nila munang suportahan ang mga local farmers, unless wala silang tanim sa mga lugar na ganoon,” he said.
The lawmaker said they conducted public consultations with farmers not only in Benguet but also in other provinces such as Nueva Ecija and Bulacan with representatives from the farmers sector.
The bill is now up for first reading at the Lower House. – Ofelia C. Empian

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