19 February 2024 | BOI-AVR

Colleagues from the government, our friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I was impressed by the plans of President Arrey Perez in his more than two thousand plan charts, and that would be a magnet for the regions, including Metro Manila.

I am pleased to be with you this morning for the signing of our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the Department of Agriculture, the Clark International Airport Corporation, and the Department of Trade and Industry for the establishment of the National Food Hub in the Clark Airport Complex.

Under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., we in government stand committed to advocating food security as outlined in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028. This food hub initiative aligns with the DTI’s priority agenda, which focuses on ensuring affordable and accessible food for all Filipinos.

Under these plans, the DTI developed the Three-Year Food Logistics Action Agenda, that USec. Jean has already described and approved by the President, and among the projects included there is the establishment of a food hub in Central Luzon, or Region 3. It looks like we are on the way to achieving that aspiration.

I am also happy that several other projects and initiatives under our Action Agenda are underway. Recently, the DTI also signed a MOU with the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for the Integrated Rice Supply Chain Development Program. Also related to achieving food security for our country.

But the beauty of this project, it will be the catalyst in that region for the development of other full industrial corridors, that will hopefully extend partnerships to your region, like Region 1 and possibly Region 2. Of course, Region 3 is already agricultural, or perhaps some areas can be converted into the planting of high-value crafts, and raising of animals for food. Still, very much sure of the food supply in the Philippines, and we are reporting a lot of this foodstuff.

Now, I remember when I was sitting there, perhaps, this will also help boost our other project of the DTI, which is to stimulate and enlarge our Halal Industry, possibly by designing and processing plants in the National Food Hub in Clark, we can have the process simplified as Halal. The beauty of that is the airport there has access to Subic, so we can export Halal products to a big market globally. I think the estimated value is about 7 trillion US dollars. So, we can be part of the big market, particularly in the Middle East.

We are exerting efforts to transform the Philippines’ food distribution system, and the National Food Hub will be part of this.

This MOU is notable, in that it brings together three agencies of the government, and together we will work with the private sector to operate the food hub. I have seen the Burgess international market in Paris, France. It is also established by the Asian Development Bank, or the Department of Agriculture, done by the Spanish team, who model the food hub. Well, there are many models, and we will take these models into account to design our own.

I am particularly proud of the comprehensive objectives outlined in this MOU, which include enhancing food security, empowering farmers and the private sector, strengthening supply chain and logistics systems, and facilitating infrastructure development. These objectives underscore our unwavering dedication to advancing sustainable growth, resilience, and inclusivity in our agricultural sector.

The significance of this collaboration cannot be overstated. With the CIAC taking the lead in the physical development of the Clark National Food Hub, the DA focusing on policy framework, public investment, and support services, and the DTI spearheading initiatives in supply chain, trade facilitation, and logistics policies, we are indeed united in complementing our efforts.

Together, let us work towards a Bagong Pilipinas where sufficient and quality food for every Filipino is not a dream but a reality.

Thank you. ♦

Date of release: 19 February 2024