Marcos: P20/kilo rice a long way to go

·2 min read
A farmer walks with a water buffalo over cracked soil at a dried up rice field in Baliuag town, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
A farmer walks with a water buffalo over cracked soil at a dried up rice field in Baliuag town, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. admitted in a recorded interview with Toni Gonzaga that there is a long way to go before the Philippines achieves P20 per kilo of rice at the retail level.

“It’s a long road there, it’s not going to be easy,” he said in a recorded interview with Toni Gonzaga.

Marcos stressed the need to lessen importation and restore the National Food Authority’s (NFA) function of procuring rice directly from producers and reselling it for a more affordable price.

Not so much importation, but really, the buying and then even now we can really do it, but it’s a little short term,” Marcos Jr. said. “We sell the buffer stock that they have in NFA, we can sell it at P20; but that’s not really realistic, we have to bring the actual price down.”

He also mentioned that there is a need to establish the “value chain” to “make savings at every step.” Marcos anticipates that should the conditions in the global market improve, P20 can be achieved.

He added, “That’s why I talked…about transforming our economy, not recovering. Because I don’t want to recover the economy to what it was in 2019. I want to transform the economy to be ready for the shocks, the difficulties we will face from 2022.”

Former socioeconomic planning secretary Karl Chua mentioned in May that P20 per kilo of rice is possible only if government support was “targeted and efficient”, saying that “If we are going to use taxpayers’ money solely to subsidize without conditions and without any productivity measures, then that’s a bad idea.”

Chua emphasized that through the removal of quantitative restrictions, that is, limitations on the quantity of rice being imported, lower retail prices were achieved and that P18 billion was generated through tariffs.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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