WITH its decision to find ways and means of helping the country’s distressed farmers following the liberalization of the rice industry, the government has apparently bowed to popular outcry.
Admittedly, the issue of falling prices of palay is acknowledged to be one of the many causes why our poor farmers, forced to borrow money from heartless and unscrupulous “usurers,” are furious.
Three members of the House of Representatives have moved for the use of the P29-billion rice subsidy fund under this year’s P3.757-trillion national budget to purchase the rice farmers’ harvest.
Leading the move are House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, his wife Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte.
The bulk of the subsidy is given to the millions of beneficiaries of the government’s highly-successful “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” more popularly known as “4Ps.”
Last October 23, the House committee on agriculture, chaired by Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, adopted a Joint House Resolution (JHR) authorizing the use of rice subsidy funds to buy the farmers’ palay.
The resolution stemmed from JHR No. 322 filed by Majority Leader Romualdez and his wife Yedda, a registered nurse and a former beauty queen, and JHR No. 16 of Congressman Villafuerte,
Enverga described the JHRs filed by the Romualdez couple and Villafuerte “as very helpful to ease the plight of the country’s poor farmers.”
“Despite (government) efforts…to protect the rice industry, large stocks of imported rice have depressed the buying price of local palay to levels way below the cost of production,” said the Romualdez couple.
In helping the country’s beleaguered farmers, the government, through concerned offices and agencies, is showing its genuine concern for the welfare of the still growing army of poor Filipinos.
Thus, we doff our hat to well-meaning members of the House of Representatives, like the Romualdez couple, Villafuerte and Enverga, for championing the cause of our farmers.