Tell it to SunStar: Amid rising rice prices, groups gather signatures vs. Rice Liberalization Law

·2 min read

The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, rice watch group Bantay Bigas and urban poor group Kadamay led the petition signing on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, held at the Kamuning Market in Quezon City to gather public’s support in demanding the repeal of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law and the enactment of House Bill 405 or the Rice Industry Development Act (Rida).

Retail prices of rice increased by P3 per kilo with prices ranging from P38 to 50 per kilo.

“This is a part of our continuing opposition of the law and reiteration of our demand for its repeal. The proponents of the Rice Liberalization Law promised that rice prices would decrease to P25 per kilo, but prices remained high and inaccessible for the poor consumers after three years. Nawala sa mga palengke ang P27 kada kilong NFA (National Food Authority) rice kaya mas mahal na commercial rice ang binibili; dagdag gastos habang kakarampot ang kinikita,” Amihan secretary general and Bantay Bigas spokesperson Cathy Estavillo said.

The groups started the petition in 2020 that garnered at least 80,000 signatures nationwide.

Estavillo has blamed the Rice Liberalization Law which limited NFA’s mandate to buffer stocking and removed its function to regulate rice prices through subsidized pricing.

The groups also called for the enactment of House Bill 405 or the proposed Rice Industry Development Act (Rida), which was originally filed by representatives of Anakpawis Party-list.

The groups stressed that provisions of the Rida bill seriously addressed the hounding issues in the country’s rice production, with the allotment of P495 billion for its “Three-Year Implementation Plan,” composed of:

Rice Production Socialized Credit Program with P25 billion allocation;

Accelerated Irrigation Development Program with P45 billion and P20 billion for rehabilitation and repair;

Post-Harvest Facilities Development Program with P30 billion;

Farm Inputs Support Program with P50 billion;

Research and Development and Extension Services Program with P15 billion; and

P310 billion allocation for National Food Authority’s local procurement program.

“Flooding the local market with rice imports has been proven to be a flawed solution in addressing surging rice prices and food security. Parehong lugi ang mga mamimimili at mga magsasaka hangga’t hindi tunay na self-sufficient at self-reliant ang bansa,” Estavillo said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting