PRESIDENTIAL frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., will work to bring down the price of rice, a staple for Filipinos, in his administration, after he wins in the fast-approaching May 9 presidential elections.
With barely three weeks remaining before the May polls, Marcos said in an interview that subsidizing the price of rice would be one of the options they will try to explore in the first year of his administration.
He also disclosed plans to bring down the price of rice by P20 to P30 per kilo by recommending a price cap on the staple.
But to be able to do this, he pointed to the need for a regular and thorough inventory of rice harvests in the country.
The presidential bet said he would then issue an executive order directing the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority, to procure rice harvests from local farmers at higher and more competitive prices.
He said this would also be one way of preventing rice cartels from controlling the supply and demand of the product in the market.
Marcos also reiterated his intention to amend the Rice Tariffication Law and make it more local farmer-friendly and to stop the country’s too much dependence on rice importations.
“Hindi natin kailangang mag-import ng bigas kung sapat naman ang supply ng ating magsasaka dahil ang dapat mas pinapalakas pa natin ang pagtanim at pag-ani ng ating mga palay,” he said.
The Partido Filipino ng Pilipinas standard-bearer pointed out that doing away with rice importations would ensure the livelihood of local farmers.
He also clarified that his administration would still recognize the existing pacts entered into by the country but would now prefer to protect the interests of local farmers.
Marcos said he would also allocate more funds for the DA and push for the full implementation of the Free Irrigation Law.
“Masyado nang kawawa ang ating magsasaka dahil hindi pa nga sila sinasalanta ng bagyo at kalamidad ay may delubyo nang dumarating sa kanila dahil ultimo patubig ay sinisingil pa sa kanila,” he said.
The presidential frontrunner cited anew his plans for having big, government-owned storage facilities where farmers could stock their harvests and wait for buyers where they could sell their produce at more competitive prices.
“Walang problema sa privately owned na bodega, ‘wag lang sanang abusuhin ang mga magsasaka sa mahal na pagsingil sa kanilang pagbobodega,”he explained.
Marcos also said he will direct all concerned government agencies, including the barangays and local government units to act as middlemen in the national government’s procurement of rice harvests from local farmers as part of steps for lowering prices of rice in the local market.
He also intends to lower the prices of fertilizers too, by providing assistance to local farmers through loans with feasible terms.
The leading presidential candidate said he would also place more importance on research and development in agriculture to keep local farmers updated on innovations and technological advances and practices that would increase their yields.