Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Arlene Brosas on Thursday warned of much higher prices of rice due to “unlimited rice importation” as the country’s quantitative restrictions on rice imports expire on June 30.
“It is not true that a fully liberalized trade system on rice will lower prices supposedly due to intensified competition. Rather, the price of rice will further surge as local producers will be flushed out of the game due to unli-rice importation and with a rice cartel pegging rice prices at a higher amount. Mothers will bear the brunt of this scheme as rice is the staple food of Filipino families,” said Brosas.
“The country’s accession to World Trade Organization and the calibrated liberalization of rice trade has only caused a sharp slowdown in local rice production and has made us one of the top five rice importing countries in the entire world while rice prices continue to rise,” added Brosas.
The lawmaker also criticized the National Food Authority’s move to expand the role of private sector in rice importation to meet the 2016 quota, saying this will further tie the hands of government in regulating rice prices.
GWP said the Duterte administration must instead impose tighter controls on rice importation and terminate WTO and other trade deals that cripple the local agriculture and breed dependency on agricultural imports.
“The Duterte administration should expedite the signing of the free land distribution deal as contained in the agenda of peace negotiations with the NDFP, as well as the executive order on the moratorium on land use conversion. These policies will ensure that the country will have enough lands for food production,” Brosas ended. #