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Marcos still hopeful of lowering rice prices to P20/kilo

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is still hopeful that his dream of P20 per kilo rice  will come true.

Marcos said this as he led the launching of Kadiwa Ng Pangulo in Pili, Camarines Sur. The project aims to provide farmers and fishermen, as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), a direct market for their products.

"Makikita ninyo 'yung bigas, ang aking pangarap na sinabi na bago ako umupo na sana maipababa natin ang presyo ng bigas ng P20, hindi pa tayo umaabot doon... dahan-dahan palapit, nasa P25 na tayo, kaunti na lang maibababa natin 'yan," Marcos said in his speech.

(You can see that the price of rice, my dream of lowering its price to P20, we are not yet there... but we are already at P25, we are close to further reducing its price.)

In Kadiwa stalls, a kilo of rice is being sold at P25 per kilo. The President said there are more than 500 Kadiwa stalls across the country, which aims to provide consumers with cheaper basic commodities.

As shown in the price monitoring of the Department of Agriculture as of March 15, the price of well-milled rice in the markets in Metro Manila ranges from P40 to P46 per kilo.

It was Marcos' campaign promise to reduce the price of rice to as low as P20 per kilo.

He said the aspiration hinges on fixing the value chain, or the series of stages involved in producing a product or service that is sold to consumers, with each state adding to the value of the product or service.

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, an economist, previously said that while this is not impossible, lowering rice prices to P20 would be at the expense of other sectors in the country.

In a separate interview with reporters, Marcos was asked about his timetable on the P20 rice per kilo. He said he is not certain when this will happen.

"Yesterday if not sooner, lahat ng timetable ko yesterday if not sooner, lahat 'yan ASAP... I don't know, we'll see... mayroong... minamalas sa weather eh kaya di mo matiyak ano 'yung magiging production (we're encountering challenges in the weather that's why we can't be certain on production)," Marcos said.

Twenty exhibitors or Kadiwa partners are expected to sell their products during the two-day trade fair at Barangay Palestina in Pili town.

Aside from three farmers' cooperatives, four MSMEs, three individual young farmers who will sell their food and non-food products, the National Food Authority will also sell rice at a lower price while the Bureau of Fish and Aquatic Resources will also offer seafood products.

Asked about the sustainability of Kadiwa, Marcos pointed to the importance of production.

"Isa lang ang sagot diyan kasi kung hindi kaya ng production mag-iimport tayo, kaya sa lahat ng... iniiwasan natin 'yung mag-import kaya't pinapatibay natin ang production side na 'yan kasi kung marami at may sistema tayong maganda na mapaparating sa palengke, sa market 'yung mga bilihin ay makokontrol natin ang presyo," said Marcos.

(The only answer to that is production so that we'll no longer import. We are avoiding importation so that we are strengthening the production side.)

When it comes to food security, Marcos also said the Department of Agriculture should be converted to having a "hightech operation."

"That’s the only ngayon to increase production. So we have to bring the technology," Marcos said. —AOL/RSJ, GMA Integrated News