Pilipina Ako was eight years old when she thought living in the province is the better option.
Stories of industry and simplicity had amazed her. Everywhere is clean, and everything—it would seem—is free.
But then, her parents settled in the city. And to date, more and more people leave the provinces—from 35.8% total employment in 2006 to 33.2% in 2010.
The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) noted, though, that there are still 1.16 million Filipinos tilling the soil in Western Visayas. Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Bicol, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and ARMM have about 800,000 to 860,000 persons.
“All regions recorded declining proportions of agriculture in employment over the reference years,” a report from the BAS, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, read.
Filipino agricultural workers—and almost 1.35 million of them are children aged 5 years to 17 years old—could get P152.01 a day. Since 2006, it has gone up by 3.6%. Those involved in fishing activities earn P169.43 everyday.
The agricultural economists and experts who have called on the government to encourage crop diversification and establish agri-based enterprises were correct in a way. The Philippines is rich agriculturally, and it is always wise to draw from one’s own strength. But does that mean that Filipinos as young as 5 years old should ‘reduce poverty,’ as well?