President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Food Authority (NFA), through Agriculture Secretary William Dar, to buy all palay output during this harvest season even if it would lead to a massive loss for the government.
“The solution should be or will be for the Secretary of Agriculture to buy all. Magkano ba presyo nila? Bilhin natin. Lugi? Lugi talaga. Are we wasting money? No. We are not wasting an industry, we are helping an industry,” said Duterte.
“Eh ‘di malugi. ‘Yan man ang… Kaya ako nagkokolekta ng buwis eh. Kaya ako happy ako pagka nakatsamba ka ng bilyon diyan na tax evader. But I can satisfy the demands of the people,” he added.
Palay prices have dropped to as low as P7 pesos per kilo or nearly 60 percent off their production costs as the Rice Tariffication Law opened the floodgates to cheap imports.
But Duterte said farmers should not demand for an unreasonable price because he believed Dar would not agree to that arrangement.
“But you cannot demand a price. You arrive at a compromise of how muchyou are willing to lose a little bit. Huwag naman ‘yang paano. Medyo tapatan lang basta hindi malugi na ano ‘yung pagod nila but they are compensated,” said Duterte.
Duterte defended the shift from quotas to tariffs because it was meant to lead to cheaper rice prices.
“It is a mode that is intended to serve the greater interest the majority of the people. So ang solusyon diyan, bilhin natin. Bakit tayo nagkokolekta ng taxes? Para malugi. Para makatulong ka sa… Okay?” said Duterte.
“In a democracy, officials are elected and their duty is to do for the greatest good for the greatest number. You have seen people going wild others hungry because there is no rice,” he added.