Pacquiao says gov’t should protect local rice farmers from cheap imports

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2022 04:52 PM

Photo by Mark Demayo
Photo by Mark Demayo

Presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao said Friday the government should protect Filipino farmers from the influx of imported rice which has been bringing down the farm gate price of locally harvested palay. 

Vising rice granary Nueva Ecija, Pacquiao said the Filipino farmers are suffering not only because of the coronavirus pandemic but also because of the enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL). 

He said the RTL opened the floodgates for cheap and imported rice as it removed the quantitative restriction for the importation of rice commodities.

Pacquiao said that while the lifting of the QR is a government commitment as a signatory to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of the World Trade Organization, he vowed to review the RTL to shield farmers from the effects of unrestricted rice importation. 

“Sinabi ko na yan na pagdating ng panahon eh sisiguraduhin natin na hindi maagrabyado ang ating mga farmers at kung babaratin yung mga palay nila, hindi tayo papayag at ang gobyerno ang bibili ng mga palay nila sa reasonable price,“ Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao noted that the decline in the country’s agricultural sector was caused by long years of government neglect and unrestrained entry of smuggled agricultural products. 

“Alam mo sa totoo lang ang ating gobyerno pahina na nang pahina– kumbaga walang power ang ating gobyerno nakokontrol sila ng mga importation ng mga sindikato na yan at kawawa ang mga farmers natin, “ Pacquiao said. 

“(Dapat) maglaan ng pondo ang ating gobyerno para matulungan itong mga farmers natin at kung ah maaari ang gobyerno na bibili sa kanila ng mga palay. Pati mga fertilizer na yan supplyan sila ng ating gobyerno.“