By Chino Leyco
The government will not suspend the importation of rice, the chief economic manager of President Duterte clarified Monday.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters in a mobile phone message that the government will provide “unconditional” financial aid to affected farmers as the rice tariffication law continues to take effect.
Instead of suspending the controversial measure, Dominguez said “the grant of unconditional cash transfers to affected farmers was approved in the last Cabinet meeting.”
Dominguez also cited a broadsheet newspaper report quoting President Duterte apologizing to farmers over the low farm-gate price of dry unhusked rice or “palay” sank.
According to the news report, the chief executive plans to meet with the farmers’ groups to discuss the influx of imported rice that dragged down retail prices of both well-milled rice and regular-milled rice to their lowest levels in more than two years.
Duterte was also quoted as saying that his administration does not intend to seek the repeal of the rice tariffication law.
Meanwhile, GMA News’ 24-Oras Weekend reported Sunday that President Duterte has ordered the suspension of rice importation amid farmers’ woes.