The Philippine government has reaffirmed its commitment to bolstering the agricultural sector, aiming to ensure a robust food supply for the nation’s population, now exceeding 117 million. This pledge was emphasized by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the inaugural rally of Bagong Pilipinas, held at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila, on January 28, 2024.

In his address, President Marcos highlighted the government’s view of food production as a pivotal element in national development. Consequently, significant resources and efforts are being channeled into enhancing the country’s farming and fishing industries.

The President recognized the critical role of the nation’s modern heroes — the farmers and fishers. To support them, the government is expanding irrigable land, intensifying support for all types of crops, and promoting urban gardening initiatives, including the conversion of idle lands into productive vegetable plots.

Furthermore, the Department of Agriculture (DA), in collaboration with other national agencies, launched a food production initiative in July 2023. This program, focusing on the optimal utilization of idle lands in various penal institutions, is part of a larger effort to elevate the country’s food self-sufficiency and ensure access to affordable, nutritious agricultural products.

The DA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have implemented the Reformation Initiative for Sustainable Environment for Food Security (RISE) Project under a collaborative Memorandum of Agreement. This project involves engaging persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in agricultural activities, both as a reformative measure and a step towards their eventual reintegration into society.

A notable success of this initiative was recorded in early December 2023 at the Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan. A 4.5-hectare plot in the area yielded over 96 metric tons of rice, vegetables, and fruits, generating a substantial gross income of PHP 7.3 million.

Bagong Pilipinas represents a national campaign dedicated to forging a resilient nation with a robust economy and a secure future for younger generations. It encompasses a comprehensive development plan designed to benefit all Filipinos.

Under this campaign, President Marcos urges the enhancement of government services, emphasizing the need to simplify and streamline bureaucratic processes and requirements. ###