MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): Senatorial candidate Loren Legarda has urged the government anew to preserve Philippine culinary heritage and promote sustainable food security.
As the country celebrates Filipino Food Month with the theme, “Filipino Food, Key to Development and Change,” Legarda stressed that food is an essential part of Filipino identity and culture since it tells the story of the country, and unites Filipino spirits.
The three-term Senator who authored House Bill No. 10551 or the proposed Philippine Culinary Heritage Act reaffirmed that one way to preserve Filipino food heritage is to conduct mapping and documentation of such heritage, a process to further study different foods from different regions that describe the history and culture of a particular region.
Once enacted, House Bill No. 10551 will require concerned agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Tourism, to conduct food heritage mapping and regional culinary identity mapping, and identify and record tangible culinary resources making use of geographic tools.
The bill will also establish the Committee on Philippine Gastronomy and Culinary Heritage, which will be responsible for the formulation and promulgation of policies, plans, and programs to ensure the further development, enrichment, propagation, promotion, and preservation of Filipino cuisine, Filipino culinary heritage, heirloom food, and gastronomy.
Moreover, Legarda cited that another way to preserve local food heritage and promote food security is to provide the necessary support for agriculture and fisheries, especially for small farmers and urban gardeners, and promote traditional cooking methods using heirloom ingredients.
Legarda, a backyard farmer herself, is a co-author of the Organic Agriculture Act under RA 10068, which provides for the establishment of the National Organic Agricultural Programme and its amended version under RA 11511, which recognises Participatory Guarantee Systems as a credible and affordable way to certify organic produce; the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, which requires banks to allocate 25 per cent of their loanable funds to the agriculture sector; and, the Rural Farm Schools Act, which provides for the establishment of Rural Farm Schools.
She is also a co-sponsor of the Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Act, which strengthens the practice of agricultural engineering in the country by having such practices align with internationally-recognised agricultural and biosystems engineering practices.
The Antique lone district representative also initiated the allocation of more funds for agricultural programmes in the province, including the National Rice Program, the National Livestock Programme, the National Corn Programme, and the High-Value Crops Development Programme, and funding support for programmes of institutions such as the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, the National Dairy Authority, and the Philippine Carabao Center, among others.