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In an interesting twist of events, Senator Imee Marcos, sister of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., joined a protest on Tuesday, September 26, calling for the resignation of her brother’s finance chief, Benjamin Diokno, owing to his economic policies.
Imee joined the ranks of farmer-friends who stood in front of the finance building to protest the plan of the finance department to reduce the tariff on imported rice from the current 35% to 10%-0%. The reduction of tariffs was meant to address the surging price of rice in the market.
“Lahat ng barkada ko andito eh. Lahat ng kaibigan natin na mambubukid, mangingisda – lahat ng nanggaling sa Northern Luzon hanggang sa Central Luzon pati barkada galing Southern Luzon andito po,” she told reporters when asked why she was at the event.
(All of my friends are here. All of our friends who are farmers and fishermen from Northern to Central Luzon, and even Southern Luzon, are here.)
“Nakikisuporta lang ako. May dala akong tubig, nagdala na rin ako ng tinapay palibhasa wala nang bigas, ayan, para lang makatulong sa kanila tutal hindi papayag si Bongbong dito. Sigurado ako diyan dahil lagot tayo sa tatay ko,” Imee added.
(I’m just showing my support. I brought water and bread since there’s no more rice, so there, just to help them because for sure, Bongbong will not agree to this. I’m sure of that because my father will get mad.)
Imee said she doesn’t support the plan of her brother’s economic managers since the harvest season, end of September to October, had already started.
“Magsisimula na ang halos lahat ng bukid at ang kasagsagan niyan ay sa katapusan, ngayon itong linggo na ito hanggang buong Oktubre. Bakit naman sila mag-i-import ngayon? Pambihira naman,” she added.
(Almost all farms will begin harvesting from this week until the whole of October. Why would they import now? That’s ridiculous.)
When asked why she thinks Diokno is pushing for the planned importation, she said: “Malakas ang kita kapag imported, ano ba.” (You earn more when it’s imported rice, that’s why).”
On Monday, September 25, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said that the President doesn’t support the DOF’s plan. Marcos leads the DA as its secretary in a concurrent capacity.
The zero tariff plan was proposed by the DOF to supposedly help reduce the price of rice. This proposal came after the much-contested executive order of the President which imposed a price cap on regular and well-milled rice affecting many rice retailers nationwide.
Meanwhile, Diokno had quelched rumors that he was supposedly being shown the door amid policy differences with the President and his allies.
“I don’t comment on rumors. That’s it. Speculations,” Diokno said during his weekly briefing last Friday, September 22.
Imee’s presence shows open disagreement with the policies of her brother’s administration. Critics, however, were dismissive, saying, her supposed opposition to her brother’s policies is just a publicity stunt to further her political agenda.
The senator has spoken out against policies and pronouncements of the President – opposing or contradicting him openly on issues like the temporary hosting by the Philippines of Afghan refugees formerly employed by the US, the supposed decline in commodity prices which the President boasted of in his State of the Nation Address, the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, and early on, the commemoration of EDSA.
Was the senator’s intention to criticize government policies genuine? Or is she just positioning for the 2028 elections? – Rappler.com