PRESIDENT Duterte rejected calls to repeal the Rice Tariffication Law as he apologized to farmers who are unsatisfied the administration’s handing of the agriculture sector.
The President, in an interview in the “Failon Ngayon” TV program aired late Saturday, said he is against the repeal of the rice tariffication law, or Republic Act No. 11203, which resulted in the flooding of imported rice.
“I am not about ready to do that (repeal the Rice Tariffication Law). I do not want to have a food crisis again… It is just a serious problem but kung wala ka pagkain para sa tao (but if you do not have food for the people), that is different. You have more serious challenge there, and maybe hard to resolve until there is really food on the table,” he said.
Duterte signed the law in February last year.
He reiterated said he does not foresee the country becoming rice sufficient anytime soon.
He said factors like “climate change,” population or “people growth,” and “mismanaged na problema ng gobyerno (mismanaged government problems)” affect the country’s ability to be rice sufficient.
The President assured farmers his government would find a “happy balance” between rice importation and rice production by the farmers.
Farmers have been complaining that since RA 11203 took effect, they are unable to sell their harvest despite very low prices.
Duterte said he intends to inspect some agricultural facilities and equipment provided by government and “maybe along the way I might be able to find out what’s the truth and I will correct it.”