Duterte says he was misunderstood on rice import suspension order
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday pointed out that he was only “misunderstood” on his earlier order to suspend rice importation amid farmers’ protests against low farm gate prices and the entry of cheap imported rice due to the rice tariffication law.
At the inauguration of a power plant in Sarangani, Duterte said stopping rice importation would be a “folly” act since local farmers cannot meet the country’s total demand for rice.
“They can plant and harvest but it is always a contingent one in the Philippines. Now to say that you stop importation just because they’re going to produce the – projected number, that would be a folly because I said we are the window to the Pacific island,” Duterte said.
“And you know there’s never a way of knowing how much typhoon would ravage our plant including the rice land and whether there would be a good harvest or not. So delikado ‘yan sabihin mo na (It’s dangerous to say)— well I have been greatly misunderstood.”
“Sabagay, I have always been misunderstood. My presidency was a misunderstood venture. Ganun talaga. At ang sinabi ko, we have to import because the producer cannot fill up the requirements, it’s lacking,” he added.
Duterte signed the rice tariffication law early this year which lifts the import limit on rice and instead imposes tariffs on the staple.
The law is aimed at boosting the supply of rice in the country, but local farmers are reportedly suffering from the influx of cheap imported rice.
Malacañang earlier said rice importation will continue but with “stricter” application of import standards.
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