Shut up or free speech? Roque, Bong Go respond to Mar Roxas’ rice crisis advice
MANILA, Philippines – They are supposed to echo President Rodrigo Duterte's sentiments on issues, but Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go had contrasting ways of responding to the rice crisis suggestions of former interior secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
In a DZRH interview on Wednesday, September 19, Roque flatly rejected Roxas' suggestions.
“Hindi ko pa naririnig ang kanyang sinasabi, pero dahil sa kanyang karanasan doon sa Leyte ay mabuti pong manahimik na siyang muli (I didn’t hear what he said but because of his experience in Leyte, it would be better for him to just keep quiet once again),” Roque said on Wednesday.
Roque recalled the criticism over the Aquino administration’s handling of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief and rehabilitation efforts. Roxas was at the helm of operations as interior secretary at the time.
In contrast, Go said on Tuesday, September 18, that he respected Roxas’ right to speak his mind on a national issue.
“Nirerespeto natin ang kanyang opinyon. It’s his freedom. Demokrasya naman ito. So tinitingnan na po ‘yan ng ating economic managers at ginagawan na po ng paraan. We are very aware of that, ang ating Pangulo din po,” he said in in response to questions in an interview in Valenzuela City.
(We respect his opinion. It’s his freedom. This is a democracy. So our economic managers are looking into the problem and finding solutions. We are very aware of that, our President as well.)
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Roxas spoke on a national issue for the first time since he lost in the 2016 presidential race. Saying that the rice crisis had compeled him to speak out, the former trade secretary suggested that Duterte raise the cap on rice imports to increase rice supply in the country, given that Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) had ravaged rice fields.
He also suggested putting all farmers’ families under the Conditional Cash Transfer program. In the medium-term, Roxas said Duterte should repeal the tax reform law and promote industrialized farming.
Roxas, who has taken an indefinite hiatus from politics since losing to Duterte in the 2016 presidential elections, called for a “time-out” in politics as he asked Duterte to “consider” his suggestions in their common interest of addressing rice problems. – Rappler.com
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