Rice tarrification will abandon millions of rice farmers, workers and consumers
ACT Teachers Representatitves Antonio Tinio and France Castro slammed the Duterte administration for abandoning the 3.6 million rice farmers and rice farm workers, their families and the Filipino people through rice tarrification and liberalization policies on agricultural imports.
“The Duterte admnistration is imposing more policies that would destroy the already ailing farmers and their families,” Tinio said. “The rice tariffication policy would devastate the local industry of rice with unlimited volumes of rice allowed to be imported in the country. This will affect over 15 million Filipinos that depend on rice production as their livelihood.”
“The economic managers of the Duterte administration has been blaming the rise in inflation on the high prices of rice in the market, while Sec. Piñol himself said in the budget deliberation of the Department of Agriculture in Congress that prices of rice have hiked because of the TRAIN law,” Castro said. “Rice tariffication is not the solution to the record high inflation rate in the country. It will only lead to bigger and more problems in the future for our fellow Filipinos especially rice farmers and workers.”
“The Duterte administration has also been blaming rice farmers and workers for their inefficiency to produce quality and affordable rice while also turning its back on the clamor of the Filipino peasants for genuine agrarian reform and government support to help farmers increase their production without burying them in a lifetime of debt,” Tinio added. “Instead of helping our own farmers, the government is instead running away from its responsibility to aid farmers and consumers and running towards import dependence and monopoly traders whose primary mission in life is to profit.”
“There is no guarantee that the rice tariffication will lower the prices of rice in the market but will definitely decimate the rice industry in the country,” Castro added. “We have been importing rice from Thailand and Vietnam yet price hikes in the market continue to soar.”
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, for the last six months of 2018, the prices of rice have already increased twenty four times at a net increase of P2.65. The price of regular milled rice was P38.04 per kilogram and on the first quarter of the year, it has jacked up to P39.74 per kilogram or a P1.70 increase. Last June, the price moved up to P40.69 per kilogram.
“The government must focus on self-sufficiency to solve the rice crisis in the country. Dependence on import would only make the country forevermore vulnerable to price manipulation and will destroy the already suffering agricultural industry despite being an agricultural country. Our peasants have long clamored for genuine agrarian reform, government subsidy on the production of our agricultural products, it is about time that our government should listen and hear their calls,” Tinio said.