Amid the lowering price of palay in several provinces, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy their supply from local farmers.
In a press conference Wednesday, Duterte said that the government should help the local farmers who are now suffering from selling their unhusked rice.
According to him, the government would buy the rice at a fair price and ready to lose money for the sake of the farmers.
“What the solution should be, or will be for the secretary of the Department of Agriculture to buy all, magkano ba presyo nila? Magkano presyo nila, bilhin natin, lugi? Lugi talaga. Are we wasting money? No. We are not wasting an industry. We’re helping an industry. So malugi tayo, eh di malugi,” said Duterte.
“You cannot demand a price. You arrive at a compromise of how much you’re willing to lose a little bit. Medyo tapatan lang basta hindi malugi yung pagod nila, they are compensated,” he added.
Duterte also insisted that the rice tarrification law, which was blamed by some groups to be the reason why the farmers are now suffering, was implemented for the betterment of the majority.
“Now, itong tariffication is a mode that is intended to serve the greater interest of the majority of the people. So, ang solusyon diyan, bilhin natin. Malugi tayo, malugi tayo. Kaya tayo nagkokolekta ng taxes para malugi,” he said.
Meanwhile, a blogger suggested that the government should regulate the price of imported rice in the market so the local farmers could compete.
“The best quickie solution for the government is to regulate imported rice and then buy all available palay at higher prices to manipulate the standard rate, so that rice traders have no choice but to offer the same rate, and this move by the government is VERY VERY laudable.” blogger Krizette Laureta Chu said.
She also told the President to let NFA personally transport the rice from local farmers because some middlemen might take advantage of the situation.