MANILA — Having listened to the plight of their respective constituents, Liberal Party congressmen are moving to file a joint resolution to amend Republic Act 11203 otherwise known as the Rice Tariffication Law.
“Matindi ang daing sa amin ng mga magsasaka sa aming lalawigan at kinakailangan na talagang kumilos para matulungan sila, bilang sila ang mga nagpapakain sa sambayanan,” said Josephine “Nene” Ramirez-Sato, representative of the lone district of Occidental Mindoro.
Sato, who hails from the rice-producing province in Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan), confirmed reports that the prices of palay have plummeted to 7-8 pesos as relayed to her by the farmers in the region.
“We need to move quickly to help our farmers who are in a dire situation. They are gearing up for the worst harvest season in the history of palay production this September and October and we should be able to assist them in their most difficult time,” said Sato.
Quezon City representative Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, LP secretary general, said he and his party-mates at the House of Representatives will push for the adoption of a resolution that would help the Executive department explore more sources of funds for direct cash transfers for our farmers in a move to help save them.
“It is our responsibility as legislators to help our farmers who are potentially in the brink of extinction. The state has failed them over the past decades for not equipping them with enough safeguards for this eventual massive rice importation,” said Sato.
Last Thursday, LP president Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has filed a joint resolution to amend the Rice Tariffication Law and allow a P13-billion immediate cash assistance to rice farmers. He pointed to two possible sources of direct cash transfers to rice farmers: the fund balance of P4 billion of the P10 billion appropriated for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) under the unprogrammed appropriations of the 2019 national budget; and the P9.19 billion collected as tariff revenues from rice importation from 5 March 2019 to 31 August 2019.