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At Kiko Pangilinan's Farm, Ampalaya Doesn't Mean Bitterness

And a special pig is exempted from lechon duties.
by Pia Regalado
May 27, 2022
Photo/s: Team Kiko/Earvin Perias
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Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Friday prepared to ease into private life, giving supporters a virtual tour of his farm, where ampalaya doesn't symbolize bitterness and the property's pig mascot is exempted from slaughter.

Pangilinan, who placed second to Vice President-elect Sara Duterte, said he would become a "full-time farmer" once he steps down on June 30, similar to how he spent his three-year break from lawmaking in 2013.

The husband of actress Sharon Cuneta said his advocacy for farmers' welfare and food security would continue even while he is no longer in public office. "Di yan natatapos sa eleksyon. Ke may eleksyon ke wala, kakain ang tao, at mahalaga ang pagsasaka," he said. 

EXPLAINER: What Kiko Pangilinan's Moment with Pampanga Farmers Means for VP Race

Stopping by a patch of ampalaya plants, Pangilinan said: "'Wag kayo mag-alala, 'di tayo bitter. At doon sa mga bitter, tatanda lang tayo at maha-high blood. Minsan kailangan tanggapin."

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Pangilinan gave a shoutout to fellow outgoing Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, asking the defeated presidential candidate to take up farming as well. Lacson earlier asked Pangilinan for tips on where to buy binhi or seeds for a peppercorn plant.

He introduced viewers to the farm mascot, a native pig named Bacon who is pardoned from being  cooked as lechon. The farm also has coffee trees, kangkong, lettuce and cacao.

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Citing his experience when Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) ravaged his farm in 2014, Pangilinan said the government should ensure there's enough support for farmers and fisherfolks when calamities strike, "dahil kung hindi, gutom ng magsasaka at gutom ng bansa ang magiging resulta."

"Ibang klase talaga ang tulong at suporta para sa pagkain ng ating bansa pagka tinamaan ng kalamidad, dapat talaga gobyerno pumapasok, sumusuporta dahil pagkain 'yan e, dapat lahat tayo nakakakain ng masustansyang pagkain," he said.

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