‘Crucial’ for gov’t to act now and compensate farmers
MANILA, Philippines — It is “crucial” for the government to “act now” and compensate farmers for losses amounting to P61.77 billion due to flood of rice imports, Senator Francis Pangilinan said.
“Farmers must begin receiving cash compensation now to reimburse them for what they have already lost. This money will not only help them—and consequently help us rice consumers—continue farming, but in fact just survive,” Pangilinan said in a statement on Sunday.
“The crucial matter is that the government must act now,” he added.
According to the senator, his staff was able to interview the wife of a farmer in Nueva Ecija who as a domestic helper in Metro Manila.
“Imagine the hardship and sacrifice she endures—a mother who left her children to care for themselves so she could augment the further-reduced family income caused by the flood of rice imports,” he said.
Pangilinan, who served as presidential adviser on food and agriculture under the Aquino administration, called for a review of the Rice Tariffication Act “leading to its repeal or suspension, until government has actually done its duty to prepare them for global competition.”
Under the said law, rice importation is liberalized, with a tariff of 35 percent.
The law sets aside P10 billion subsidy annually for farmers which is meant to be used for various programs such as research, procurement of farming equipment, and credit, among others.
Citing news reports, Pangilinan said farmers have lost at least P61.77 billion due to the continuous drop in farmgate price of palay.
“Dapat apurahin na ng pamahalaan ang pagpapatupad ng mga solusyon para sa nasalanta ng batas,” he said.
(The government should expedite the implementation of solutions to help those who were affected by the law).
“Since August, when we have anticipated the misery that would befall our farmers, we have proposed immediate government response,” the senator further said.
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