Rocamora pushes rural dev’t, revitalized agri

Rep. Rav Rocamora

SIQUIJOR Representative Rav Rocamora urged the national government to focus on rural development and revitalization of the agriculture sector to spur job creation in the countryside.

The country’s suspension of deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait raised the need for creating more jobs in the country, according to Rocamora.

“While the intent of suspending the ban is really to protect our citizens from abuse, other problems will arise from this suspension, namely how to provide an alternative livelihood for the OFWs who will be affected. I believe the best solution is to create the jobs here locally through greater investments in agriculture to spur rural development,” said Rocamora on Tuesday.

Rocamora said, “In the short term, it creates an alternative to working abroad. In the long run, it reduces poverty by benefiting the poorest sectors namely farmers and fisherfolk and disperses development towards the countryside.”

“There are other destination countries in the Middle East region and even in the East Asia region where our OFWs can eventually find employment with better guarantees of protection. However, unless we create a significant number of jobs locally we will always have these horror stories of abuse of our OFWs because they are part of the phenomena of labor migration,” Rocamora said.

The next package of tax reform or what is called TRAIN 2 will focus on rationalizing fiscal incentives for businesses. Rocamora emphasized that it should include greater support for investments in the agricultural sector.

“Our government loses a huge amount of money giving tax exemptions to industries that do not need them. We should plug these loopholes and grant similar incentives for job creation in the agricultural sector, technology transfer, development of agriculture and food processing, and boosting our export of the agricultural products.

p: wjg