Romualdez: Vietnam promised PH affordable rice
MANILA, Philippines — Vietnam has assured Filipino lawmakers that the Philippines will be supplied with affordable rice, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said.
On Monday, Romualdez’s office released a statement saying that the Speaker met with the National Assembly of Vietnam president Vuong Dinh Hue on Sunday, on the eve of the 44th Asean Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) general assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Sunday secured the commitment of Vietnam to provide the Philippines with a stable supply of rice at affordable prices in affirmation of the strong, friendly relations between the two countries,” Romualdez’s office said.
“This developed during Romualdez’s side meeting with Vuong Dinh Hue, President of the National Assembly of Vietnam, on the eve of the formal opening of the 44th Aipa (Asean Parliamentary Assembly) general assembly here,” the office added.
According to the Speaker’s office, Romualdez’s meeting follows President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s concern about the country’s rice supply amid the possible effects of the recent typhoons, the El Niño season, and India’s export ban.
With Vietnam’s assurance, the country’s rice prices would stabilize as supply would be sufficient.
“Vietnam is traditionally the main source of Philippine rice imports, but as other buyers crowd in, President Marcos said supply might become limited, and the country may have to find an alternative supply source, like India,” Romualdez’s office said.
“The assurance of supply from Vietnam could help boost the country’s rice supply and dampen possible price spikes fueled by speculation over possible shortages,” they added.
To reciprocate Vietnam’s goodwill, Romualdez said, “The Philippines is willing to provide Vietnam with specific products and materials it may need to meet the demand of its industries or consumers.”
“Romualdez also told Hue that he is looking forward to broadening the areas of cooperation between the two countries, in particular between the respective parliaments and in the areas of energy transition and digital transformation,” the Speaker’s office said.
“Likewise, the two leaders of parliament discussed opportunities for partnership and cooperation to improve the supply chain between the Philippines and Vietnam involving other agricultural products and construction materials, such as cement,” they added.
As early as April 2023, Marcos said that the National Food Authority would increase its rice stock through imports and local sources, noting that the buffer stock was too low. However, the President assured that while the country would rely on importation again, imported rice has steadily decreased.
However, in a report last August 2, NFA noted that their stockpile is only suitable for two days, short of the minimum inventory requirement that would help the country during emergencies or calamities.
According to NFA, its buffer stock as of June 2023’s end was at 1.22 million bags or 60,819.95 metric tons (MT), which would last for just two days based on a daily rice consumption rate of 679,670 bags or 33,983.5 MT.
A safe buffer stock would have to last for at least nine days.