Ipatupad ang tungkuling magbigay ng abot-kamay at abot-kayang bigas, hindi ng pangamba: Kiko

Statement of Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Agri Sec alarm bells re high rice prices next year

Ipatupad ang tungkuling magbigay ng abot-kamay at abot-kayang bigas, hindi ng pangamba: Kiko

The rice tariffication bill, when it becomes law, should not be used as an excuse to alarm the consuming public about available and affordable rice. Parang alam na niyang may paparating na bagyo, tinatantya na niya ang mga mamamatay. Kung may paparating na bagyo, ipakalat niya ang mga gagawin niya bilang pinuno ng bansa para walang mamatay sa delubyo.

There are four things the Agriculture Secretary should do instead:

1. Act on his mandate as Agriculture Secretary to make rice farmers more productive and competitive through cheaper farm inputs and lower rice wastage. He should ensure bigger incomes for local rice farmers.

2. So that rice farmers’ incomes do not go any lower and that revenues from their harvest are not compromised by traders and retailers, the Agriculture Secretary should be more vigilant and use his power and authority under the Price Act to ensure that affordable rice is available to the public. Under this law, he has the power to ensure no overpricing, hoarding, profiteering, delay of importation, and other forms of price manipulation happen with respect to our country’s staple.

3. The Agriculture Secretary should convince the President and the economic team to suspend the increase in excise tax on fuel due to TRAIN Law as this factors in the transport of rice and other food products like fish (the catch and distribution of which is fuel intensive).

4. The Agriculture Secretary should work on ensuring that there is sufficient land for agriculture, especially rice.

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Fulfill duty to provide available and affordable rice, not create alarm: Kiko

Kapag naisabatas, ang rice tariffication bill ay hindi dapat gawing pang-alarma sa publiko tungkol sa abot-kamay at abot-kayang bigas. It’s as if he’s giving estimates on casualties when he has advance information of an approaching storm. In case of a coming storm, as leader of the country, he should tell everyone what he will do so that no one dies from the disaster.

May apat na bagay na dapat gawin ang Agriculture Secretary:

1. Gampanan ang mandato bilang Agriculture Secretary para maging mas produktibo at competitive ang mga magsasaka sa tulong ng mas murang pataba at iba pang farm inputs at mas kaunting bigas na nasasayang. Dapat siguraduhin niyang mataas ang kita ng mga magsasaka sa bansa.

2. Para hindi na bumaba pa lalo ang kita ng mga magsasaka at para hindi makompromiso ng mga trader at retailer ang kita mula sa pag-aani, dapat maging mapagbantay ang Agriculture Secretary at gamitin ang kanyang kapangyarihan at awtoridad sa ilalim ng Price Act para matiyak na mayroong abot-kayang bigas para sa publiko. Sa ilalim ng batas na ito, may kapangyarihan siyang tiyaking walang mangyayaring overpricing, hoarding, profiteering, pagkaantala sa pag-angkat, at iba pang uri ng pagmamanipula ng presyo sa pangunahing pagkain ng bansa.

3. Dapat mahikayat ng Agriculture Secretary ang Pangulo at ang economic team na ipatigil ang pagtaas ng excise tax sa petrolyo bunga ng TRAIN Law dahil makakaapekto ito sa pagbabyahe ng bigas at iba pang produkto tulad ng isda (ang paghuli at distribusyon nito ay magastos sa krudo).

4. Dapat asikasuhin ng Agriculture Secretary na may sapat na lupang sakahan lalo na para sa palay.