NUEVA Ecija Third District Rep. Rossana "Ria" Vergara has filed House Bill 3110 or the "Onion Industry Development Act" that seeks the creation of the Philippine Onion Research and Development Center, envisioning the center as the government's lead agency in helping onion farmers who depend on the industry for their livelihood.

"This proposal further seeks to extend assistance to other farmers who also rely on onion-growing for a living for their families," Vergara said.

Vergara, also the principal author of the measure, said the R&D center will be expected to promote producing and marketing onion and conduct training programs for onion farmers on growing yields from the vegetable.

The lawmaker also said the center will partner with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources in crafting long-term policies for the growth of the onion industry in the country.

She added that the bill also seeks to designate the town of Bongabon in the third district as the "Onion Capital of the Philippines" for its big contribution to the growth and development of the industry in the country.

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Concerned quarters have described the filing of the Vergara bill as timely in the face of reported increases in the prices of onion across the Philippines. The reports came on the heels of speculation that the crop is being hoarded in a number of warehouses in the country.