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Magkaalaman na: Recto wants faceoff on unli rice import plan

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Senate minority leader Ralph Recto wants a confrontation between supporters and critics of the administration’s plan to liberalize rice importation.

Recto filed Senate Resolution 146 to study the purported benefits of such a plan, to protect the welfare of farmers and agricultural workers.

“Ano ba ang saklaw ng policy? Limited importation ba o unli? Mayroon na bang mechanics?” he said.

“(T)he sheer number of farmers and people involved and dependent on domestic rice production calls for a plan that will cushion the disruptive effects of such major policy shift,” he added.

Earlier, the government’s economic managers called for the lifting of the quantitative import restrictions on rice, to bring down rice prices.

They also argued this will raise farmers’ incomes as they will be enticed to shift to more profitable crops.

But agriculture officials said safety nets will have to be set up to help the farm sector during the transition period.

Recto said the Senate should provide a venue for discussion of the plan by all stakeholders.

“We have to listen to the conflicting concerns of the rice-producing poor on the one hand and the rice-consuming poor on the other,” he said.