Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am delighted to be here - joining all of you in celebrating your 22nd Year Founding Anniversary. Ang tema ng inyong selebrasyon “Walang Iwanan: De-kalidad na Pamantayan sa Gitna ng Pandemya” ay hangarin nating lahat.
Sa taong ito (2020), sinubok tayo ng kaliwa’t kanan ni Inang Kalikasan – nariyan ang pagputok ng bulkang Taal, lindol at bagyo, at ang pandemyang dala ng COVID-19. But on top of all of these challenges, the Department of Agriculture, hand-in-hand with its RFOs, Bureaus and attached agencies worked double time to continuously deliver goods and services to our farmers and fisherfolks.
Sa katunayan, hindi tayo huminto o nagpatinag kay COVID sa ating pagtulong na mai-angat ang kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda, gamit ang mga bagong pananaw sa agrikultura bilang makabagong sandata. Hangad nating lahat ang isang bansang Pilipinas na may matibay na seguridad sa pagkain, at mga magsasaka at mangingisdang may maunlad at masaganang buhay. Tulungan natin sila upang patuloy na makamit nila ang masaganang ani at mataas na kita.
Today, I want to say “CONGRATULATIONS BAFS” for 22 years of remarkable growth – growth in membership, vision, effectiveness and credibility. With Dr. Mula as your new Director, you have come a long way, and I salute you for your uncompromising commitment to develop and implement standards that ensures food safety and quality, worker’s safety and welfare, environmental management, and global competitiveness of Philippine agriculture and fishery products.
And so, the agriculture sector has been promoting and implementing sustainable practices to address not only the food production aspect but also on the food safety aspect as well, under the umbrella of food security.
This is where BAFS play a crucial part, in its two-fold goal - to ensure consumer safety while promoting competitiveness of Philippine agri-fishery products – which should not be at the expense of one or the other. Ang mga serbisyong naibibigay ng BAFS sa publiko tulad ng standards formulation, promotion and information on its technical services, Registration of Organic Food and Input Producers / Establishments, at Accreditation of Organic Certifying Bodies ay importante at malaki ang impact sa agriculture sector. Ipagpatuloy ninyo ang inyong misyon sa paggawa ng mga pamantayan at regulasyon na science-based, globally harmonized and consistent with international standards.
Napaka-importante ang de-kalidad at ligtas na mga produkto sa merkado lalo na sa usaping pagkain. And we should continue to aim and set the highest standards of food safety here in the Philippines, for health and economic reasons.
The standards that you set in place are the ones that ensure food safety. As such, we hope that BAFS remains true to its commitments. We have a lot of competitive advantages already as an agricultural country. Let us continue to work together in enhancing and keeping them. Again, Happy Anniversary!