Multi-sectoral group calls for repeal of rice liberalization law; doubts Duterte’s sincerity in suspending rice importation

Maris Federez   •   November 20, 2019   •   822

A multi-sectoral group expressed doubts on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s sincerity when he announced that he is ordering the temporary suspension of rice importation in the country.

The group went on to call for the stoppage of the implementation of the Rice Liberalization Law.

The group claimed that the President’s pronouncement may be just like what happened to the other promises he made but were left unfulfilled.

The President made the announcement to address the complaints of farmers of the severely low price of palay as imported rice flooded the local market brought about by the Rice Tariffication Law.

The Bantay Bigas group doubts the President’s sincerity.

“Puro salita […] Wala siyang inisyu na Executive Order para ipakita na talagang sinsero siya doon sa ihinto iyong rice importation (All talk […] He didn’t issue any Executive Order to show that he is sincere in stopping the rice importation),” said Bantay Bigas spokesperson Cathy Estavillo.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), on the other hand, dared the President to make good on his announcement to suspend the rice importation as it called on the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy the farmers’ palay at a price not lower than P20 per kilogram.

“Stop killing the rice industry. Save the rice farmers,” said KMP Chairman Rafael Mariano.

The group suggested that the President may direct Congress to suspend and review the Rice Liberalization Law.

Meanwhile, President Duterte will meet with Agriculture Secretary William Dar to discuss the planned suspension of rice importation. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

Agriculture group complains of lost income due to low market price of palay

Marje Pelayo   •   September 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Farmers have been losing a significant amount of income because the price of palay has become so low.

This is what the agriculture group, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), has observed.

The group claims that several areas in the country sell palay at P13.00 to P14.00 per kilogram while in some places it is as low as P10.00 per kilogram.

However, the production cost has increased due to the rise in prices of fuel and fertilizer.

“Ang production cost ngayon ng fresh harvest ang computation namin is P15.50 (per kilo),” said Rosendo So, president of Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura.

But the Department of Agriculture (DA) said there is a slight difference in the price of palay this year compared to last year. Farmers can still make profit through the DA’s programs, the Department said.

“Meron po talagang totoong mangilan ngilan exceptional na 10 (pesos per kilogram) pero ito po ay mga basang-basa at medyo sira pong palay,” explained DA Usec Ariel Cayanan.

But SINAG questioned why the price of imported rice has not gone down when the capital for each kilogram is cheap at P22.00.

“Ang kumikita dyan ay iyong mga importer. Iyon ang sinasabi namin na pag ibinaba ang taripa hindi sigurado na mapupunta sa consumer ang presyo,” So added.

SINAG urges the national government to increase the budget of the National Food Authority (NFA) to further support local production.

However, DA Secretary William Dar said they tried to ask for additional budget to buy palay but was rejected.

“We suggested through the budget process but it was not approved,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said, many local government units are now starting to buy directly from local farmers.

If ever the budget is approved, it is still the NFA who will procure rice for relief goods needed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Millers urge government to buy locally-produced rice

Marje Pelayo   •   May 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Under Executive Order 135, the tariff on rice from countries like India, Pakistan and China will be reduced to 35% from 40% to 50%.

Agriculture group Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG) said traders might divert and buy imported rice than the locally-produced one because of price differences.

As a consequence, millers would need to buy rice from local farmers at a lower price.

“Doon sa P24 na landed cost (ng imported rice), ang pwede nilang bili sa farmers is P15 ang dry, ang wet ay nasa P12. With that price, malulugi ang farmers dahil wala pa sa break even price iyon,” said SINAG’s Rosendo So.

Thus, millers are calling on government to buy locally produced rice through the National Food Authority (NFA) at P17.50 per kilogram and a milling fee of P3 to P5 per kilogram.

SINAG estimates that the government needs P205 billion to buy around 12 million metric tons of harvest from June to December this year.

“With this new EO, kung mag backout ang magsasaka dahil ang miller ay hindi bibili ng mataas dahil malulugi sila, malaking shortage natin sa bigas,” So added.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the NFA can only buy a limited volume of rice.

“NFA will only buy because they are mandated to maintain buffer stock, so yun lang ang bibilhin ng gobyerno,” Dar said.

The official said that only the 10% deficit in local rice production will be allowed to import.

Dar added that farmers are now enjoying the benefit of the rice enhancement competitive fund under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

“The farmers, sabi naman nila dati, aatras sila because of the RTL. The farmers continue to plant,” Dar noted.

He said the intention behind the lowering of tariff was to make rice affordable. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Mababang presyo ng palay dahil sa rice tariffication law, itinanggi ng DA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Mariing pinabulaanan ng Department of Agriculture ang alegasyon ng ilang grupo ng mga magsasaka hinggil sa umano’y pagbaba ng presyo ng palay dahil sa ipinatutupad na Rice Tariffication Law.

Una nang nanawagan ang grupong Federation of Free Farmers sa Kongreso na imbestigahan ang pagpapatupad ng Rice Tariffication Law dahil sa naging epekto nito sa presyuhan ng palay.

Ayon sa grupo, bumaba sa P11 hanggang P13  kada kilo ang presyo ng basang palay habang nasa P14 hanggang P17 naman ang halaga ng tuyong palay.

Anila, ito ay dahil umano sa hindi kontroladong importasyon ng bigas at walang kasiguruhan sa polisiya ng kagawaran.

Ngunit ayon kay Agriculture Secretary William Dar, walang katotohanan at  ‘exaggerated’ lang ang alegasyon ng ilang grupo at ilang dating opisyal ng kagawaran.

Aniya, paraan lang ito upang maisulong ang kanilang panukalang amiyendahan ang mga probisyon ng rice tariffication law.

“The interest groups, along with former DA officials, have exaggerated data on palay to push for the amendment or repeal of the RTL (rice tariffication law). They are resurrecting old arguments against RTL,” ang wika ni Dar.

Batay aniya sa survey ng Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) na isinagawa mula Setyembre 16-30, 2020, nasa P18 kada kilo ang average na presyo ng palay sa Central Luzon habang P19 naman sa Cagayan Valley.

Ang dalawang rehiyon ang nangunguna sa produksyon ng palay sa bansa na katumbas ng 31.5 percent ng total harvest noong 2019.

Sa ulat naman ng Philippine Statistics Authoroty, lumalabas na nasa P17.12 kada kilo naman ang farmgate price ng palay sa huling dalawang linggo ng Setyembre – mas mataas kumpara sa P16.18 kada kilo na presyo sa kaparehong panahon noong 2019.

Ayon kay Dar, ang mga nasabing survey ay nagpapakita lamang ng totoong presyo ng palay na taliwas sa sinasabi ng ilang grupo.

“Makikita dito na hindi nagkakalayo ang data na ginagamit ng gobyerno, and definitely the reality is, hindi kasing baba ang presyo ng palay as interest groups claim on social media,” ang wika ni Dar.

Tiniyak naman ni Dar na nakahanda ang National Food Authority na bilhin ang palay na ibinibenta ng mga magsasaka sa halagang P19 kada kilo na nasa mga bodega at buying stations sa bansa. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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