News Release

PBBM vows to make Basilan PH’s food, fisheries production center

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday vowed to harness the gains of the recent peace efforts in Mindanao as he looks forward to making Basilan province one of the nation’s food baskets to ensure food security under the “Bagong Pilipinas” campaign.

Speaking during the “Panabang si Kasanyangan” peace offering ceremony in Sumisip, Basilan, President Marcos said that despite the dawn of peace in the region, there is still work to be done and various stakeholders must continue seizing the momentum to attain long-lasting peace.

The President said peace must be woven into the fabric of social life, and in Basilan’s case harnessing its potentials – a land blessed with resources, and a people rich in talent – is the key to enduring peace that is based on common progress and shared prosperity.

“Basilan’s new role is now the war against hunger. You have a land area twice the size of Singapore, blessed with a rich soil, above-all more or less typhoon-free, which makes you an ideal bulwark in our fight for food security,” Marcos said during the event, which also coincided with its 50th founding anniversary.

“Ang kailangan lang ay tulungan ang Basilan para maging isang lubos na food and fisheries production center. Kasama niyo ang pambansang pamahalaan sa bagong hamon na hinaharap ninyo na ito,” he added.

Once Basilan’s agri-fisheries potentials are unlocked, the whole country benefits, he said, stressing it will put the province at the front and center of the administration’s national goals.

Its future and fate are therefore intertwined with the nation’s, Marcos said, assuring its government and people “that we will play our role as partner of Basilan’s great leap forward.”

President Marcos recognized the peace efforts of the Provincial Government of Basilan, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU), the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the community, religious leaders and volunteers.

At the same time, the President thanked the initiatives of international partners and allies, particularly the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and the Japanese and Australian governments for their unending support to the pursuit of a just and amicable peace.

Also, during the event, the President led the distribution of eight motorcycles donated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to former rebels to support their livelihood.

He also witnessed the symbolic destruction of 400 illegal firearms surrendered by former rebels through the current peace efforts.

Basilan is home to rubber plantations, with major cooperatives and thousands of farmers and small plantations assuming a key role in rubber production.

Copra and rice are also the province’s banner products, which are the farmers’ main source of income. PND