MANILA -- Rice watch group Bantay Bigas on Friday called the "P20/kilo rice" promise as empty rhetoric from President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
This comes a day after Marcos said cheaper rice is within reach.
In an interview with the media, Bantay Bigas chairperson Cathy Estavillo questioned the basis for the president's pronouncements.
"Hindi natin alam kung saan humuhugot si PBBM ng kanyang datos even kahapon niya binanggit nun sa pasinaya sa Kadiwa sa Bicol. Sa realidad, ang nangyayari sa agrikultura, hirap na hirap, yung magsasaka na lumilikha ng pagkain ng mga Pilipino ay nagugutom na," Estavillo said.
They said it's very unlikely to sell rice at P20 per kilo as palay is now at P23 pesos.
"Rhetoric na lang yan, pangako simula nung kampanya hanggang maging Presidente siya," she said.
Estavillo said it is possible but the government must create drastic policies, such as giving heavy subsidies to farmers.
It would also help if the government will buy 25 percent of local production of rice and subsidizing it for consumers.
DA Deputy Spokesperson Rex Estoperez believes that it is possible to lower the price of rice, but it might take a while. He said there are factors out of government's control, like price of fertilizers.
"Ini-import ang fertilizer ngayon, mahirap fertilizer kasi tumaas presyo, so hindi natin kaagad-agad mababago ang productivity. Mukhang hindi pa natin makakamit yan," Estoperez said.
DA also admitted that there are a lot of things that need to be done to lower the price of rice.
"Kailangan pumasok yung tamang post-harvest facilities, yung irrigation, so yung pag-increase ng production, yung pagbaba ng wastage, these are measures that will help us bring down the price of palay and of course yung price ng bigas," said Asec. Kristine Evangelista of DA's Consumer Affairs Group.
"Ultimately, our objective really is to put all the necessary intervention from production to post harvest logistics para maibaba ang costs," she added.