Villar reiterates call for more farm schools, cites agri-tourism spots

A VEGETABLE farm in Davao City. — LEAN S. DAVAL JR

SENATOR CYNTHIA A. Villar has again stressed the need to establish more farm schools, including in agri-tourism sites, to boost the country’s agriculture sector.
Speaking last Friday at the 17th National Vegetable Congress in Davao City, she said there is an increasing pressure to produce more food and Filipino farmers and their families have an important role to play in sustainable production.
“There are now many farm tourist sites all over the county and the establishment of more farm schools will allow more Filipinos to have access to agri-related training courses,” said Ms. Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food.
“The vegetable industry is of course very important to an agricultural country such as the Philippines. More than fifty percent of the country’s agriculture sector is comprised of crops, of which vegetables and other root crops are a major component. Thus, the industry’s further growth and development is our collective goal,” she added.
The senator also said that her initiative, the Villar SIPAG Farm School, which has two sites located in Bulacan and in Cavite, is planning to set up more branches around the country. — Carmencita A. Carillo

Duterte warns of closing door on surrendering NPAs

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte on Saturday, Aug. 26, threatened to close the door on members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the communist armed fighters, who plan to surrender.
Speaking before troops at the Camp Teodulfo Bautista Headquarter in Jolo, Sulu, Mr. Duterte said, “[N]ext time around, we will raise the bar higher… wala nang (there will be no more) surrender-surrender. P***** i**,” adding that some of those who have surrendered sometimes go back to the armed struggle.
The Presidential News Desk (PND) said the President visited the “21 wounded-in-action soldiers at Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital” before his speech.
“With your bravery, selflessness, and patriotism, I am optimistic that we will one day defeat all threats to our democratic institutions and secure a brighter future for our beloved country,” Mr. Duterte said.
“All I can say with pride: You are not alone in this fight. The Filipino people stand beside you, and I stand with you every step of the way as we advance the common good and promote the safety and security of our nation,” he added.
Mr. Duterte awarded the wounded military officers the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Rank of Kampilan in honor of their courage, bravery, and sacrifices in the service of the country, according to the PND. — Arjay L. Balinbin