President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. remains optimistic about pulling down the price of rice to P20 per kilo in the country.
In an interview with reporters in Zamboanga City on Tuesday, Marcos said this could be achieved once the agriculture sector and the cost of agricultural production in the country become stable.
“May chance lagi ‘yan. Kung maayos natin ang production natin at maging maayos, hindi na tayo masyadong bagyuhin at ‘yung mga tulong na ibinibigay natin sa mga farmer ay magamit na nila," Marcos said.
(It always has a chance. If we fix production, and if we will no longer be hit by typhoons, and if the farmers will utilize our assistance.)
Marcos added that it would be easy for the government to make the necessary adjustments once everything normalizes.
“Ngunit, kapag talaga nagawa natin ang cost of production binaba natin ay bababa rin ang presyo ng bigas. Bababa rin lahat. Basta’t mas mataas ang ani, kahit na pwede nating ipagpantay ang presyo,” the President said.
(If we lower the cost of production, the price of rice will also decrease.)
Marcos had since been hopeful as regards his campaign promise to reduce the price of rice to as low as P20 per kilo.
He had 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 services.
The President said the government has been exhausting all remedies to ensure that the prices of staple foods on the market are affordable to Filipinos, especially to those who find it difficult to make ends meet.
On Monday, the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, chaired by Marcos, approved the buying price range for wet palay from P16 to P19 while the price range for dry palay was pegged at P19 to P23.
Marcos also directed the imposition of a rice price cap to ease the burden on Filipinos amid the increasing rice prices.
Marcos' Executive Order No. 39, which took effect on September 5, provides that the price ceiling for regular milled rice is P41 per kilo and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice.
In a separate statement, Speaker Martin Romualdez of Leyte said raising the buying price of palay will ultimately benefit the farmers.
“This shows the compassion of our President towards our farmers who have been working very hard for us to achieve food security. We should always take care of them,” he said.
“Our farmers have been the ones giving us food on our tables. So, let’s give them the respect that they truly deserve,” Romualdez added.
Romualdez also said that the President wants to make sure the local rice prices are stable, regardless of what happens in the world market.
“Our priority should be our own. We prefer our local supply compared to imported rice. We should import only those that we need,” he said.
“We must prioritize strengthening the resilience and growth of our farmers. This means investing significantly in them by providing them advanced training, the latest technology, and modern infrastructure, all of which can uplift our farming community and make them more competitive with enhanced yields,” Romualdez added.
Romualdez also said farmers need accessible financial schemes, such as low-interest loans and grants, as well as direct market access. — with Llanesca T. Panti/VAL/BM, GMA Integrated News