PH surpassing China as world’s biggest rice importer worrisome, says senator
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said the country should all be deeply worried by news that the Philippines has surpassed China as the world’s biggest importer of rice.
“This means that our country has become perilously dependent on other nations for our everyday food, sa ating araw-araw na sinaing. We are set to reach a record-high three million metric tons of rice imports this year while China is only importing 2.5 million metric tons. Ano ang mangyayari sa atin kapag hindi tayo binentahan ng bigas ng ibang bansa? Literally, nganga,” Pangilinan said.
“This food insecurity is aggravated by the impact of rice imports on our farmers. Sa pagbagsak ng presyo ng palay, karamihan sa ating mga magsasaka ang nalugi. Sino pa ang aasahan natin na magtanim ng ating pagkain kapag ang ating mga magsasaka ay gutom at lugi?” he added.
Pangilinan said that urgent action is needed and told the government to provide cash assistance to help the farmers through these lean times.
He also called for the raising of the tariff for rice imports, a plan that was already shelved by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the country’s economic managers.
“Huwag na nating hintaying maubos ang ating mga magsasaka at tuluyan tayong umasa sa ibang bansa para sa ating pagkain. Let us protect our farmers now to protect our food security,” Pangilinan said.