Solon sounds alarm over rice crisis
There is now officially a crisis in rice, but not everyone is suffering from it — only the farmers.
In a statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan expressed disappointment over the price of palay falling to its lowest level in eight years, calling this a “crisis”.
“We echoed the alarm that our rice farmers were sounding for the then worsening crisis that would peak during the wet harvest season. We are here now: The average farm-gate price of unhusked rice has slid to its lowest in eight years at P15.96 for the third week September,” Pangilinan said.
“This is 1.5 percent lower than the week before and 30.1 percent than a year ago. Lugi na po ang ating mga magsasaka. Nagbungkal, nagtanim, nag-ani na ang mga rice farmer natin, pero lugi sila,” he added.
The declining price of palay was a result of the influx of imported rice, which is allowed under a liberalized regime, thanks to the Rice Tariffication Law or RA 11203.
Among the solutions the Senate proposed to address this is for the implementation of special safeguards under Republic Act 8800.
“Ibig sabihin, itaas na ang taripa ng mga inaangkat na bigas mula sa kasalukuyang 35 percent to 47 percent. Mababa pa rin itong 47 percent sa sinasabi ng Philrice na patas na taripang 70 percent. Pero kahit papano, makakatulong na ito sa ating mga magsasaka,” Pangilinan said.
“At dahil krisis na ang kalagayan ng ating mga magpapalay, kailangan talagang unahin na ang cash assistance, na buod ng ating Senate Joint Resolution 2, which we filed September 5. Sumasang-ayon dito sina Agriculture Secretary Dar at Finance Secretary Dominguez, at maging ang mga kasama natin sa Senado at House of Representatives,” he added.