DAVAO CITY , Philippines — The proposal of the government to import rice is a manifestation of an undermined food security in the country, a lawmaker said on Saturday.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said the government’s “liberalization policy on agriculture” is hurting the country’s farmers and likely will not be sustainable in a bid to stabilize the price of rice in the market.
“This administration’s policies on agriculture are actually crumbling, as it is unsustainable and flawed, with the poor sectors in the country at the other end of suffering and facing hunger,” Casilao said in a statement.
The militant lawmaker also criticized government for shrugging off the issues of formalin-use on imported galunggong (round scad) and rice weevils (bukbok).
About 330,000 bags of imported rice in Subic and Albay were reportedly infested with rice weevils, according to the National Food Authority (NFA). The grains agency said the infested stocks would undergo fumigation and quarantine before it will be distributed elsewhere in the county. NFA added that another 160, 000 imported rice bags is expected to arrive next week in Subic.
“This administration endures to endorse its policy of reliance to imports,” Casilao said as he warned of rice food emergencies if the government will continue importing rice to stabilize both the supply and prices across the country.
To recall, Zamboanga City had declared a state of calamity after the prices of rice soared from P50 to P70 per kilogram. Also in Pangasinan, the price of commercial rice is continuously soaring with prices reaching P42 to P60 per kilogram.
“The real solution to the rice crisis is self-sufficiency, with regions and provinces, able to produce their own stocks of rice, and with the government procuring these at good farmgate prices, to keep it away from monopoly traders whose primary mission in life is to profit, then sell it at low prices to poor consumers,” the Davao-based solon said.(davaotoday.com)