Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. to act fast in addressing the current food crisis and inflation after an agricultural sector group called for the self-assigned Agriculture Secretary to declare a "state of emergency" or a "state of calamity" on agriculture.
Hontiveros said that the government's immediate action on the problem is important, adding that she will support any term that the government would opt to choose, if that would be necessary.
"Ang mas importante ay tugunan ang babala ng ating mga ekonomista, ng ilang linggo na na mayroon nang food crisis sa ngayon. At kailangan nating umaksyon agad at sa tamang paraan para hindi ito maging food catastrophe. Marami na pong panukala na pending, na puwedeng gamitin ni Presidente at Agriculture Secretary para tugunan itong ating problema. Hindi lang ng presyo ng pagkain dahil sa presyo ng langis, pati nga yung suplay ng pagkain," Hontiveros said.
(What's more important is to address the warning by our economists, that we can have a food crisis in a few weeks. And we have to do something about it so it won't turn into a food catastrophe. There are already a lot of proposals that our President and Agriculture Secretary can use to address the problem. Not only the price of food because of oil prices, but also the supply of food.)
Hontiveros said that farmers, fishermen, indigent families, and indigenous peoples must be given food subsidy.
The senator raised concerns regarding Pulse Asia’s recent survey results on the most urgent national concern the Marcos administration has to address.
According to the survey results released on July 12, 57% of adult Filipinos want the government to immediately address the rising cost of basic commodities, while 45% want the government to increase the workers’ salary.
Additionally, 33% of respondents identified reducing poverty as among their top three urgent concerns, followed by creating more jobs (29%) and fighting graft and corruption in the government (20%).
The survey had 1,200 adult respondents and has an error margin of +/-2.8% at the 95% confidence level.
The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) called on Marcos on July 9 to consider declaring a state of calamity or emergency in the industry to address its problems and prevent a food crisis.
Addressing inflation top priority
With just two weeks away from Marcos’ State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Malacañang assured that addressing the rising prices of goods and services is one of the Marcos administration’s top priorities.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said that the country’s inflation rate, which was at 6.1% already in June, was discussed during the first Cabinet meeting on July 5.
“We actually discussed inflation at the last Cabinet meeting and the President himself reported this, so he is actually ahead of the publication of the survey having anticipated this as a potential problem,” Angeles said in a statement.
Marcos has earlier received criticisms from the public after he disagreed to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) report that inflation has already jumped to an all time high at 6.1%.
"I think that I will have to disagree with that number. We’re not that high,” Marcos said at a press conference after his first Cabinet meeting.
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.
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