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Marcos calls on Duterte to stop importation of rice

Senator Imee Marcos on Friday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to temporarily freeze rice importation in the country until end of December this year to prevent further income losses and the suffering of many Filipino farmers.

Marcos made the call after discovering in a recent budget hearing of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that huge volumes of imported rice purchased from some rice-producing Asian countries remain stored in several warehouses.

Citing DA data, Marcos said the top five suppliers of imported rice in the country are Thailand, Vietnam, India, China and Pakistan.

Marcos said the livelihood of local rice farmers are being affected due to the plummeting palay prices since the rice tariffication law was implemented.

The senator asked the President to temporarily stop the importation and let the imported rice stocked in warehouses be consumed until yearend.

“Nananawagan ako kay Pangulong Duterte na mapatigil muna ang importasyon ng bigas. Maraming dahilan para wag muna tayong mag-import, dagdagan ng buwis. Patawan ng 800 percent na buwis, like Japan and Korea, they do that (I am calling on President Duterte to temporarily freeze the importation of rice. There are several reasons why we should temporarily stop importing. Let’s raise the rice tariff. Let’s impose an 800-percent increase just like in Japan and Korea, they do that),” Marcos said.

“Magpatupad ng mas mahigpit na sanitary and phytosanitary measures sa bigas, gaya ng ginagawa ng ibang bansa sa saging, pinya at sa lahat ng produkto ng Pilipinas (We should also impose stricter sanitary and phytosanitary measures for rice, just like what other countries do to Philippine products, such as bananas and pineapples). They keep doing that to us,” she added. (PNA)