MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has formally ordered the Department of Agriculture to temporarily suspend rice importations during the harvest season of rice for farmers.
According to the President, while rice importation helps keep consumers’ worries at bay from rice shortages, it is extremely harmful for farmers.
But the President also clarified that he could not stop the rice tariffication law because it could result in a “food crisis.”
He said that his order to DAR Sec. William Dar is for the government to buy the farmers’ produce at the moment.
“Kung gusto talaga natin walang problema bilihin lahat ng produce ng farmers. Ngayon, mahal. Farmgate nila, babawi sila, hindi na bale. Gagastos tayo bilyon, bilhin natin. Tapos, wala, palugi tayo,” the President explained.
“Para yung mga farmers, may resulta sa pawis nila. Sinong nalugi? Wala, tayong mga Pilipino. Bilhin natin lahat yan. Tapos dagdagan natin kasi kulang talaga,” the President added.
He said that the rice would still be imported as a buffer stock because the local farmers’ rice supply is not enough to feed 110 million Filipinos.
“Sigurado gutom ang aabutin, mag-riot ang mga tao. Mamili ka, kung ikaw ang nasa pwesto ko: Magutom ang tao o magalit ang mga farmers?” the President explained. (Gelica Paulo/IAMIGO/CNS)