SAN JOSE, Nueva Ecija — Re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino advised concerned government agencies to be vigilant against smuggling following the enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law.
“Kailangang masiguro na hindi iiral ang smuggling. Mahalaga na hindi mangyari ito, dahil kapag may smuggling, mawawala ang taripa na dapat magpapatas doon sa presyo sa local price,” said Sen. Bam, who recently visited the province known as the “Rice Granary of the Philippines.”
Sen. Bam said the government must ensure that farmers will benefit from the 35-percent tariff imposed on imported rice from Southeast Asian neighbors to help make them more productive and competitive.
“Itong pagpasok ng bigas mula sa iba’t ibang bansa. Kailangang ma-manage nang maayos. Napakasakit naman kung ang kikita sa Pilipinas, magsasakang dayuhan at hindi magsasakang Pilipino,” added Sen. Bam.
As the law presents many concerns and challenges, Sen. Bam said the government must focus on ensuring the livelihood of Filipino farmers and their families amid the entry of imported rice in the market.
“Unang-una, in the short term, iyong nakalaan na P10 bilyong pondo para sa mga lugar na apektado ng rice tariffication, dapat makaabot sa kanila,” said Sen. Bam, referring to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
“Dapat matiyak na walang magutom, mabigyan ng subsidiya, at masigurado ang kapakanan ng kanilang pamilya,” he added.
The fund is earmarked to support mechanization, credit assistance, seed development and for extension services for farmers to help them become more productive and competitive against imported rice.
“In the long term, matulungan natin sila na maging produktibo upang mapantayan nila ang presyo ng papasok na bigas,” stressed Sen. Bam, who is running under the Otso Diretso slate.