DAVAO CITY – Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares questioned the reported planned importation by the National Food Authority (NFA of 100,000 metric tons of rice from Vietnam.
In a press release, Colmenares said that budget for importation should be allotted for the development of local farmers.
“We believe that it would be better for our agriculture particularly our local farmers if we allocate the budget for these rice imports to our local peasants. Why do the Vietnamese or Thai farmers get to benefit from our fund?” he said.
Colmenares lamented that it was President Benigno Aquino who declared his authorization of rice importation during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year.
Colmenares said that the declaration also jacked up local commercial rice prices by P2-3 per kilo.
“Pres. Aquino should explain in his next SONA whatever happened to his promise of rice self-sufficiency during his term,” Colmenares said.
“Also with the importation anomalies revealed last year, I hope that the new NFA administration has done its homework and addressed these problems. As it is though we will continue to monitor the price of rice and its effect on the Filipino people,” he added.
Colmenares also said that if the Department of Agriculture (DFA) targeted a 98 percent rice sufficiency for this year, “then why are we importing still?”
With the supposed NFA 1 billion probe, as early as February last year the Makabayan bloc warned that the country will again be reeling from the “sabotaging economic effects” of unchecked overpriced rice importation as the NFA has again decided to import rice for the July-September buffer stock.(Diana C. Tomale/davaotoday.com)