Mar offers Duterte advice, Palace shrugs it off

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2018 01:22 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2018 05:54 PM

Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and President Rodrigo Duterte. File

MANILA - Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Tuesday gave some unsolicited advice to President Rodrigo Duterte on how to solve the rising food prices, but Malacañang just shrugged it off.

In a Facebook post, Roxas, the opposition Liberal Party's presidential bet in 2016, said while he and the administration differ on many issues, it is important to be united now to solve the rising prices of goods, especially rice.

Roxas, also a former trade minister, said the minimum access volume, or the amount of rice imports allowed to enter the country with lower tariffs, should be increased to 1.5 million metric tons.

He also urged fast food chains, malls, supermarket chains, groceries, and all large users to “independently source and import their own needs” so they would not have to get their share from the national stockpile.

He also suggested that the National Food Authority relax certain rules to allow "any and all in the private sector to import rice." 

In the short term, he said, these measures will “provide a definite physical buffer, put a definite time frame for when supply tightness will end, and induce hoarders to release their stocks."

“Meanwhile, to ease the farmers plight, also consider adding all farmer families to the CCT (conditional cash transfer) program,” Roxas told Duterte. 

For the medium term, Roxas suggested to Duterte to repeal the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, and promote industrialized farming to increase capital investment in agriculture.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he was not aware of Roxas’ suggestions.

“Pero dahil sa kaniyang karanasan doon sa Leyte ay mabuti pong manahimik na siyang muli,” Roque told dzRH, referring to the previous administration’s response to super typhoon Yolanda.

(But because of his experience there in Leyte, it's better for him to just be quiet.) 

Consumer prices rose 6.4 percent in August, as damage from monsoon rains drove up prices. The government hoped inflation would taper off in September.