Gabriela renews push for farmers’ subsidy, repeal of rice tariffication law
MANILA, Philippines — Give farmers a subsidy of P15,000 and repeal the rice tariffication law, Rep. Arlene Brosas of the Gabriela Women’s Party said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
She was repeating her party’s support for two measures filed by the Makabayan bloc: House Bill No. 406 proposing the first and House Bill No. 404 proposing the second.
She noted that in some rural areas rice was being sold at P13.50 per kilogram. Farmers could not sell their rice for a higher price to the National Food Authority “due to the agency’s strict moisture content standards, particularly during monsoon season when drying rice grains is more difficult.”
“Agriculture is considered the backbone of the Philippine economy, but our very own rice farmers are subjected to depressed wages and further marginalization,” she said.
The rice tariffication law makes matters harder for farmers, she added.
That law, which was signed in 2019 by then-President Rodrigo Duterte, removes quantitative restrictions on rice imports by imposing tariffs.
Citing a study conducted by the Federation of Free Farmers, she said rice farmers lost at least P40 billion in income due to the rice tariffication law.
The ones who benefited from that law in the first year of its implementation were importers and traders who, she said, had a “P57.5 billion windfall.”
“This is why we need to prioritize Makabayan bloc’s House Bill 406, which seeks to provide a P15,000 production subsidy for farmers and fisherfolks who have only barely been scraping by amid the worsening economic crisis,” Brosas said.
Brosas also noted two other bills that would need to be prioritized to boost local food production:
- House Bill No. 405, titled “Act to Promote the Development of the Rice Industry”
- House Bill No. 1161, titled “Legitimate Agrarian Reform Bill”
– TRISHA MANALAYSAY (INQUIRER.net TRAINEE)
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