MANILA, Philippines - The Senate has passed an agricultural and fisheries mechanization bill on third reading believed to boost growth in the country's farm sector.
Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, in a statement on Wednesday, said the bill, once signed into law, is expected to improve the working condition of Filipinos working in the farm sector.
"The government must prioritize addressing the needs of our people in the countryside if we are to move forward as a developing nation in Asia. It's no secret that the country's poorest of the poor can be found in the countryside, where agriculture and fisheries are the main source of livelihood," Pangilinan said.
Moreover, the mechanization of the agriculture and fisheries sector is expected to help the farm sector grow and contribute to overall gross domestic product.
"The country only has 12,000 agricultural tractors. Compare that to Japan, who is the most mechanized country in Asia and has 2 million tractors. This is a very wide gap. The data is glaring and we need to address this issue immediately," Pangilinan noted.
The Senate passed the bill on third reading on Monday, while a Congress version was passed on third reading earlier this month. The next step would be a bicamercal conference and the ratification of the bill before it can be signed into law.