'Fumigate the bigger pests' in rice crisis: hoarders, price speculators
MANILA, Philippines – House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya urged the government to go after rice hoarders and price speculators as parts of the country continue to face a rice crisis.
"Tirisin din ang mga mas malaking bukbok – ang mga price speculators and hoarders (Crush the bigger pests – the price speculators and hoarders). They should be fumigated and flushed out of the system," said Andaya in a statement on Thursday, August 30.
The Camarines Sur 1st District representative made the statement after Makabayan bloc lawmakers filed two resolutions calling for separate congressional probes into the importation of rice infested with weevils or bukbok from Thailand as well as the rice shortage in Zamboanga City.
Zamboanga City was placed under a state of calamity because of the rice shortage, which drove up commercial rice prices to as much as P70 per kilo in remote villages.
Andaya also called on the Senate to pass the bill seeking to replace quantitative restrictions on rice imports with the imposition of tariffs or taxes. The House already approved the measure on 3rd and final reading.
But Andaya said the rice tariffication bill is just one way to make rice affordable and abundant.
He suggested that the government institutionalize a "rules-based system" of importing rice and thoroughly assess the Department of Agriculture's overall public spending on food security.
"The long-term view is to stick to the existing road map for food security. Let us fund and implement it so there will be no repeat of the turbulence rocking the rice sector," said Andaya. – Rappler.com