AT least seven solons from the Makabayan bloc have filed a resolution providing for a supplemental budget of P10 billion for the National Food Authority (NFA).
House Resolution No. 28 proposed that the amount be used by the NFA to procure at least 500,000 metric tons of palay from the local rice farmers from September 2018 to January 2019.
NFA should buy palay at the farm gate price of P20 per kilogram in order to ease the rice crisis, the solons said.
In the last eight months the country has been suffering from a rice crisis that is getting worse every day.
To date, the prices of commercial rice range from P40 to 50 per kilo. In some parts of Mindanao a kilo of rice costs P80 to P90.
Consequently, many consumers are relying on NFA rice which has thinning stocks.
The Makabayan bloc lamented that the government is not doing something to address the problem despite the repeated calls for price control.
Just recently, the NFA addressed this matter by increasing imports to 500,000 metric tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand.
“But the importation did not have any effect on the prices since the NFA controlled its stock releases by prioritizing distribution to provinces and areas experiencing the most severe shortage.
President Rodrigo Duterte has announced the resignation of NFA Jason Aquino.
The Makabayan lawmakers urged their colleagues in Congress to give importance to the resolution in order to solve the rice crisis.
Now is the time to buy palay from the local farmers due to coming harvest season, they said.
“The country is entering the harvest season of the lean second cropping. The NFA must be refueled with adequate funds so it can procure a substantial portion from the coming harvest,” they added.