This week at the launch of the agriculture department’s “Plant, Plant, Plant Program”, City Mayor Lucilo Bayron announced a new policy direction for Puerto Princesa, stating that for the remainder of the year the administration will focus its efforts on developing the agricultural sector towards attaining a goal of food self-sufficiency.

He then outlined a plan to re-direct key investment projects the city government had previously mapped out and to bring its resources to funding agriculture initiatives.

“Dati wala sa program ito pero dahil sa nakita natin ang importansya ng production ng pagkain, pinihit namin yong mga project, nag-identify kami ng mga farm-to-market roads para mabuksan yung mga access ng mga magsasaka natin. Hindi lang magsasaka pati sa mga mangingisda,” Mayor Bayron said.

The pitch to agriculture is a realization brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown policy imposed by the government to contain the spread of the deadly virus. The backyard of isolated homes was suddenly thrust into importance as a family’s food source.

Mayor Bayron’s policy statement will find constituency among many residents who had experienced how it was to live under quarantine and isolation where one’s lifeline to survive was the “ayuda” of food packs from the government.

The pronouncement that was made is still in broad strokes and still needs to be formed into flesh and bones. Yet it conveys a practical and workable direction that deserves support from the entire bureaucracy.

An important agenda has been set. The remaining tasks that need to be undertaken are now in the hands of all the city’s stakeholders, policymakers and citizens alike. It needs to be ushered into fruition and not be overcome by other unfolding challenges to governance and the daily struggles of everyone.