PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) anticipates a better palay harvest this year, which is expected to result in lower prices.
During the distribution of confiscated smuggled rice in Camarines Sur, Marcos said Filipinos would soon feel the effects of more improved production in the agriculture sector.
“Sabi ng Department of Agriculture ay mas malaki ang ani natin ngayon taon na ito kaysa sa nakaraan kaya’t sa production side naman ay nagiging maayos,” he said.
(The Department of Agriculture said that our harvest this year is larger compared to the previous year, so things are improving on the production side.)
“Ngunit, kailangan natin ayusin ang sistema mula sa pagtanim, mula sa pag-research and development hanggang sa pagtanim, hanggang sa processing, hanggang sa distribution, marketing, hanggang sa retail. Kaya’t ginagawa po natin ay binubuo natin lahat ‘yan,” he added.
(However, we need to improve the system from planting, from research and development to planting, to processing, to distribution, marketing, and to retail. So what we are doing is we are building all of that.)
Marcos, who also serves as the secretary of the DA, assured that his administration is continuously implementing programs aimed at further developing the agricultural sector, which plays a vital role in ensuring the country's food security.
He also assured that rice supply will not be a problem in the country, noting that gaps in distribution that disrupt market availability and supply should be addressed.
“Pero ang dami pa rin kulang, ang dami pa rin kulang sa pag-distribute. Marami naman tayong bigas hindi lang nailalabas nang tama. Kaya’t hindi problema ang supply sa atin dito sa Pilipinas,” said Marcos.
(But there are still many deficiencies, especially in distribution. We have a lot of rice, but it's not being distributed properly. So, the supply is not a problem for us here in the Philippines.)
“Sa palagay ko, pagpasok ng ani, dahil papasok na, nag-aani na tayo at pagpasok niyan, sa palagay ko makikita na natin na bababa ‘yung presyo…market forces. Baka kung ‘yung merkado mismo ang bumababa na ang presyo, puwede na nating bawasan ‘yung mga kontrol na nilagay natin,” he added.
(In my opinion, as the harvest comes in because it's already starting, and as it enters, I think we will see that the prices will go down due to market forces. If the market itself is lowering the prices, maybe we can reduce the controls we have imposed.)
On August 31, Marcos issued Executive Order (EO) No. 39, which imposes a mandatory price ceiling of P41 per kilo for regular-milled rice and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice. This measure aims to address the current surge in retail prices of rice, which the President attributes to market manipulation by hoarders and smugglers.
Just recently, 42,180 sacks of rice were confiscated by the Bureau of Customs in the Port of Zamboanga.
Some of the confiscated rice was already distributed by the government in Cavite, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga City.
Department of Social Welfare and Development Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez said they will continue to distribute rice to poor households as long as the agency receives confiscated smuggled rice seized by authorities as directed by Marcos.
Lopez said this should send a strong message to smugglers to stop their illegal activities.
“Most probably kung ganito po ang inyong gagawin, kayo po ay involved sa smuggling ng bigas, baka po ang ending niyan ay sa donation lamang ho. So that’s why we encourage po iyong ating kababayan to do away with these illegal activities,” Marcos said.
(Most probably, if you do this, you might get involved in rice smuggling, and the end result could just be limited to donations. So that's why we encourage our fellow citizens to do away with these illegal activities.) (SunStar Philippines)