Bantay Bigas holds petition signing vs. Rice Liberalization Law in Quezon City

Bantay Bigas holds petition signing vs. Rice Liberalization Law in Quezon City

Bantay Bigas together with Amihan (National Federation of Peasant Women) and Anakpawis Partylist held petition signing against Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law today at the Commonwealth Market. The groups along with Gabriela Women’s Party have initiated the petition signing after its grave impact on farmers’ livelihood.

“The petition is an expression of broad opposition of both producers and consumers to rice liberalization and support to the House Bill 476 or the “Repeal Bill” filed by the Makabayan bloc,” Amihan secretary general and Bantay Bigas spokesperson Cathy Estavillo said.

“Habang ipinagmamalaki ng mga economic managers ni Duterte na ang pagbaba ng inflation rate ay dahil sa Rice Liberalization Law, nananatiling mataas ang presyo ng bigas lalo na para sa mga mahihirap na mamamayan. Pinagbabangga nila ang interes ng mga mamimili at magsasaka sa kabila na malaking bilang ng consumer at mamimili ng bigas ay mismong mga magsasaka,” Estavillo said.

Estavillo said that palay farmgate price remains low ranging from Php10 to Php15 per kilo while the cheapest rice prices ranges from Php33 to Php36. “Sa Sorsogon, yung pinakamurang Php33 kada kilo na bigas ay may amoy at maitim habang nasa P38 hanggang Php50 sa Laguna at Php42 hanggang Php50 pa rin ang bigas sa Panay. Ang hinahanap pa rin at abot-kaya para sa mga maralitang mamamayan ay ang Php27 kada kilong bigas.”

“Pansamantala lang ang pagbaba ng presyo ng bigas. Ang long-term na epekto nito sa mga mamimili ay pagtaas ng presyo ng bigas dahil sa limitadong suplay sa world market, kawalan ng kontrol ng gobyerno sa presyo ng bigas at monopolyong kontrol ng pribadong sektor sa suplay at presyo ng bigas sa mga pamilihan,” Estavillo added.

“Bigo ang mga solusyong inihahain ng Department of Agriculture tulad ng pautang at mga pangakong bibilhin ang palay ng mga magsasaka dahil hindi naman nito tinutugunan ang ugat ng problema habang ang mungkahing dagdag taripa ay dadaan pa sa matagal na proseso ng konsultasyon at walang katiyakang maaprubahan,” Estavillo said.

She added, “There is no other way to protect our farmers, our local rice industry and the country’s food security but the immediate suspension of the law towards its repeal and the advancement of a genuine rice industry development program.”

The first leg of the petition signing was held last Friday at the Mega Q-Mart in Quezon City. The groups have also launched the petition in farming communities, schools and institutions along with discussions on the situation of the local rice industry and the impact of the Rice Liberalization Law as well as an online petition. The groups target to gather 11,203 signatures which will be submitted to the Senate and Congress in time of the resumption of session next month.

A simultaneous petition signing and protests will be held nationwide on October 16 in time of the celebration of World Food Day or the “World Foodless Day” calling for the repeal of Rice Liberalization Law. ###

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