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Rehabbed addicts to blame for rice supply woes, Duterte quips

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ribbed rehabilitated drug addicts, saying they should be blamed for the country's rice supply problem.

Speaking before new career government officers in Malacañang, Duterte said drug dependents who surrendered to the police were malnourished because they used to skip eating.

"And they keep on grinding their teeth na parang sa dream na gumaganun. ‘Pag ka ‘yung anak niyo sige ganun. It's a red flag," Duterte said.

"Ngayon na marami ng na-rehab kaya tayo nagkaroon ng rice crisis. Kumakain na ang mga ulol eh," he added, drawing laughter from the audience.

"So maybe next time ‘pag may crisis na naman na you distribute shabu, kumain 'yung iba para we can save rice for the others, especially the innocent and the good ones," Duterte said.

Former National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino had been blamed by supporters of the President and the political opposition for the country’s rice supply problem, which in turn, led to higher retail prices of the staple.

Duterte's remarks came after Malacañang assured the public that the Duterte administration is addressing the issue of rising consumer prices after inflation topped the concerns of Filipinos based on the latest Pulse Asia survey.

Results of Pulse Asia's September 1 to 7 poll showed 63 percent of Filipinos want the Duterte administration to address inflation as the government's net approval rating in addressing the matter nosedived into negative territory at -24 percent.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque cited presidential orders removing administrative constraints and non-tariff barriers in the importation of agricultural products and ensuring efficient delivery of agricultural goods and price stability.

These measures were announced only on Tuesday, three weeks after the survey involving 1,800 adult Filipinos was conducted.

Roque expressed confidence the Palace measures will help tame inflation which hit a nine-year high of 6.4 percent in August. —NB, GMA News