The government must consider the welfare of farmers and fishermen when they tackle the proposed lower tariffs for meat, fish and rice, Sen. Bam Aquino insisted.
“Lowering the tariffs will lower the price. Pero sa pagbaba ng presyo ng imported, ang ating magsasaka at mangingisda naman ang masasagasaan,” said Sen. Bam during the briefing on the proposed 2019 National Expenditure Program.
“Kailangan natin protektahan ang mga Pilipinong nalulunod na sa taas-presyo,” Sen. Bam told National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Ernesto Pernia, who assured the senator that there will be consultations with the sectors regarding the matter.
Sen. Bam also asked the government’s economic managers to ensure that mitigating measures are in place for millions of farmers before implementing rice tariffication.
“Rice tariffication will have a detrimental effect to 3.5 million Filipino rice farmers. Bago pa ito ipatupad, dapat nakahanda na ang tulong sa ating magsasaka,” said Sen. Bam, who said the delays in mitigating measures convinced him to vote “No” to the TRAIN Law.
The government plans to allot P10 billion in assistance to farmers to improve irrigation, establish small water impounding systems and provide them with better seeds and equipment.
Sen. Bam also urged economic managers to consider his “Bawas Presyo Bill” as a means to address the unprecedented inflation rate.
“My bill will institute a safeguard to allow us to rollback and suspend the excise tax on petroleum products,” said Sen. Bam, referring to Senate Bill No. 1798.
Sen. Bam’s measure seeks to suspend the excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law when the average inflation rate surpasses the annual inflation target over a three-month period.
“We need this safeguard before January. Kung hindi ipasa ang ‘Bawas Presyo Bill’, mamimilipit tayo sa paghahanap ng legal na paraan para pigilan ang pagtaas ng excise tax sa Enero,” said Sen. Bam, one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the TRAIN Law.