Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday called on her supporters to help each other and feed the poor on Wednesdays, more than wearing pink, the color of her presidential campaign.
“Tomorrow, it’s Wednesday again. We all know this. This is more important than to wear pink. We should help one another,” she said.
“Some would provide rice porridge and fish balls, or even organize huge initiatives. These are okay. But we do not really need to spend so much,” Robredo added.
The Vice President said people buying extra bread for strangers or tutors who voluntarily teach children could already spell a difference.
“We are facing a huge challenge. That is why we are trying to work on changing the system and social structure by doing our own part,” she said.
Robredo recognized that there is no contribution that is too small.
Her supporters wear pink every Wednesday to express their support for her 2022 presidential bid. They also organize charity activities in the midweek.
Meanwhile, as oil price hikes increase food production cost, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan—Robredo’s running mate—urged the government to give cash aid to farmers and fisherfolk and fuel subsidies to keep food prices down.
Citing the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag), he said a bag of urea fertilizer, which cost P850 in October 2020, has more than doubled its price to P1,800 per bag in October 2021.
In its calculations, Sinag said palay production cost increased by P2.5 per kilo due to the urea price increase. What used to be P15.5 per kilo production cost is now at P18 per kilo.
All these while traders are buying palay at only P11.5 per kilo in Rosales, Pangasinan.
In a letter dated October 20, Agriculture Secretary William Dar requested the Department of Energy to implement a petrol discount scheme for operators of food delivery trucks and vehicles, and small fishermen operating bancas.
The government has already approved fuel subsidies for eligible public transportation vehicles to be distributed via the Pantawid Pasada Program System, allocating P1 billion for fuel subsidies for 178,000 public utility drivers.
Pangilinan expressed support for the fuel subsidies and encouraged the government to implement the same for the agriculture sector.
“We support Secretary Dar and implore (Energy) Secretary (Alfonso) Cusi to also implement fuel subsidies for the agriculture sector,” he said.
The opposition leader also proposed implementing cash-for-work programs under the DA to provide additional income for farmers and fisherfolk while awaiting possible cash and fuel subsidies.
Pangilinan is co-author and co-sponsor of the Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act of 2020, which seeks to collect excess tariffs from rice importation that will be converted as cash assistance to farmers and fisherfolk.
Along with Vice President Robredo, Pangilinan earlier called for the immediate suspension of excise tax on fuel in response to the oil price hikes.