Sen. Bam Aquino urged the government to ensure the immediate implementation of subsidy to rice farmer as he expressed concern about the effects of the rice tariffication law on the livelihood of tillers and their families.
“Mahalaga na ang ating mga magsasaka, mayroong safety net para sa kanila dahil maraming lugar ang mahihirapan sa pagpasok ng imported na bigas,” Sen. Bam said during a meeting with farmers in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan yesterday.
“Ang challenge natin, ngayong na papasok na iyan in the next few months, kailangan ang programa para sa ating rice farmers ay naka-ready na,” the senator added.
The law includes a subsidy for farmers in the form of a Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund to support mechanization, credit assistance, seed development and for extension services for farmers.
Sen. Bam believes the Department of Agriculture (DA) should immediately deliver the subsidy under the law so that the livelihood of rice farmers will not be affected by the expected deluge of imported rice in the market.
“In the short term, baka kailangan talaga ng subsidiya para hindi sila magutom at hindi mawalan ng hanapbuhay,” said Sen. Bam.
In the long term, Sen. Bam said the government should help rice farmers transition to other alternative crops that will help them compete in the market.
While the law paves way for steady supply of affordable rice in the market, Sen. Bam said the government should balance the situation by also ensuring the livelihood of Filipino farmers and strengthening the country’s food security.
“Importante na mababa ang presyo ng bigas sa merkado ngunit mahalaga rin na may sapat na produksiyon ng bigas sa ating bansa upang food secure tayo,” Sen. Bam explained.