Arceo: Mobilizing the grassroots

Food security is a global issue but for us Filipinos, it is the most sensitive issue at hand under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. After the President made himself the Secretary of Agriculture following his pronouncements to initiate developments for rice production, agricultural imports, and food security, everyone closely monitored his actions.

One of the projects seen by this administration is the revival of the so-called Green Revolution which requires all barangays to plant vegetables and cash crops in all open spaces around the country. Now, the national government through the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced to intensify the production of bamboo around the country. Bamboo was already declared by the DA as a high value crop, not only as raw material for economic use, but also as a food source.

In our current bureaucratic set-up, the barangays are the smallest political unit of the government under the supervision of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). Most of the national government projects that involve distribution like the COVID 19 pandemic ayuda and the national vaccination drive are dependent on the participation of the barangay officials.

During the recent quarterly meeting of the Pampanga Provincial Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBDIC) at the Lubao Bamboo Hub and Eco Park in Lubao, DILG Usec. Felicito A. Valmocina said the agency is 100 percent committed to mobilizing all 42,000 barangays for the production of bamboo.

Valmocina said the bamboo industry is seen by the DILG as one of the solutions for poverty alleviation and environmental protection. The undersecretary admitted that the government has failed to promote the bamboo industry in the past due to lack of sufficient communication, coordination, and commitment.

He vowed that this would change under the Marcos administration. It is a tough commitment but achievable if the government is sincere in delivering what has been on the planning board for decades.

In Pampanga, the municipality of Lubao has become a trendsetter in the bamboo industry because of the Lubao Bamboo Hub. The hub was developed by Governor Dennis Pineda during his term as mayor. He continuously supports the development of the bamboo park in cooperation with the DILG, DA, DENR and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Lubao Bamboo Hub has become the benchmark for all bamboo advocates nationwide. Insular Life has also partnered with the Lubao LGU and has sponsored the planting of hundreds of bamboo along the side of the Porac-Gumain River which passes through the Lubao Bamboo Hub.

Hope the DILG will remain true to its words. Huwag sana ningas-kogon!

Every new leadership commits to something that Pinoys wanted to hear. But all of the past administrations failed to totally accomplish what they have promised. Remember Duterte’s promise to eradicate the drug menace?

Another concern related to the planned mobilization is the level of understanding and learning of the barangay officials. One reason why government projects fail is the fact that many barangay officials lack a deeper understanding of these socio-economic programs. Also, the culture of corruption down to the lowest ranks in the barangays must be cleansed. The national government has many valuable and feasible programs for poverty alleviation and economic growth but the implementation is the problem.

Mobilizing people from the grassroots is brilliant when everybody participates and commits to do what is right. The Office of the President cannot do the job alone. All of us must do our part to see the realization of our plans.


On a different note, Philippine Consul General for New York Elmer Cato joined the Pampanga Press Club table talk last September 27 at the ParkInn by Radisson in Clark. Cato shared his insights on the current relationship of the Philippines with the United States government. He assured that the two countries have stronger ties than even and continue to work together, especially for the resolution of alleged hate crimes against Asians in US. Meanwhile, he noted that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will continue to serve Filipino nationals abroad. The creation of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has merged several attached offices from different agencies including the Migrant Workers Affairs of the DFA. Cato, however, said that they will continue to assist migrant Filipinos around the globe. The DFA is mandated to retain Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) and legal assistance funds for the benefit of other Filipinos overseas for consular assistance services.

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