MANILA - The Department of Public Works and Highways' (DPWH) order to fine and jail farmers who would dry their unhusked rice (palay) along roads reflects the agencies "ignorance" on agriculture, a senator said Friday.
The DPWH earlier said it would "totally ban" the drying of grains along highways to "safeguard the motorists from any untoward incident."
"The DPWH order to arrest and fine farmers for drying their palay on national roads is not only insulting, it also reflects its ignorance on how our farmers are doing," opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.
"If there were public mechanical drying systems, especially those that harness solar energy, our farmers would not dry their palay on cemented roads," he said.
The administration should find ways to provide more post-harvest facilities for farmers instead of penalizing them, the senator said.
"Don't pick on the small folk, provide solutions for their needs, not only for them but also for all of us they feed," he said.