Press Release
November 6, 2011


Sen. Edgardo J. Angara said that the dwindling number of agricultural workers in the country must be addressed by making the profession competitive for the youth today.

"Our farmers and fisherfolks work in dire conditions," said Angara in response to the report of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

"The government has yet to invest in modernizing the industry. If we do not make it appealing for the youth today to take over this industry, then there will indeed be a shortage in the future," says Angara, former Agriculture Secretary.

Angara has filed Senate Bill No. 3039, the Magna Carta of Agriculture and Fishery Development Workers, which seeks to enhance the working conditions by providing security of tenure, prohibitions on discrimination, safeguards in administrative privileges, and provisions on normal working hours and overtime work, training and scholarship among many others.

TESDA Dir.-Gen. Joel Villanueva has earlier reported that organic farming is a booming sector in the agricultural industry.

Angara urged TESDA to combine their efforts with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to promote this sector.

"Our government agencies must work hand in hand, not only in providing training, but also in ensuring that adequate opportunities are available when they finish their training," explained Angara. "Are there jobs for them once they finish? Will their compensation be competitive compared with other booming industries today?"

Underscoring the importance of agricultural development in the country, Angara said, "To ensure this, it is necessary to invest heavily in the industry. Without this, our national goals of food security and sufficiency will not be met."

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