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Mga Magsasaka sa Pilipinas, humingi na nang saklolo sa Publiko

Filipino farmers are crying for help from the government as palay prices plunge to as low as P7 per kilo with the implementation of the Rice Tariffication law.

According to a report by Jam Sisante-Cayco on GMA’s 24 Oras, farmers have begun thinking of leaving the rice fields or selling their land if the buying price of palay will continue to go down.

Farmer George delos Reyes of Pangasinan was selling palay at P19 per kilo last year, before it went down to P15 per kilo when the law was implemented early this year.  In August, palay was being brought by traders only at P10 pesos, and could be as low as P7 when the harvest season sets in.

“Luging lugi talaga sir kaya…. yan sana ang bigyan pansin ng gobyerno natin. Dapat naman itaas ang presyo ng palay para naman makabawi-bawi ang mga magsasaka dito sa atin,” Delos Reyes said.”

Municipal agriculturist Edwin Calderon of Umingan town, said: “Apektado talaga farmers namin.  Dati rati kasi, mga P17-18 ang price per kilo sa palay.  Ngayon, pumapatak na sa P10, baka bumaba pa sa P8 pag peak harvest na.”

Central Luzon farmers recently gathered in a forum and discussed ways to deal with the impact of the new law.

“May nag-regulate ng pag-import, zero-zero na, eh minasaker na nga kami, wala kaming tagapagtanggol eh,” the farmer said.

Some have also expressed the supposed lack of support  from the government despite the law’s impact on their livelihood.

“Ang pagre-regulate ng pag-import, sinu-sino lang. Eh minassacre na namin eh. Wala kaming tagapagtanggol eh,” Eduardo Moria, chairman of  Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas, said in a separate report on Balitanghali Weekend on Saturday.

Nueva Ecija in Central Luzon is the rice granary of the Philippines, which means the country sources its biggest supply of rice grains from the province.

DAR measures

Agriculture Secretary William Dar, who paid a visit to Muñoz town on Saturday, said measures were in place to help palay prices in Nueva Ecija to spring back up.

The local government has reportedly alotted P200 million to programs of Nueva Ecija’s Provincial Food Council (PFC) aimed to purchase the local harvest in September.

The LGU, on the other hand, has also been allotted P155 million to fund other programs that would benefit farmers.

The law creates a Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), amounting to P10 billion that provides safety nets for local farmers through the provision of better farming tools, seeds, and other interventions that will improve productivity.

According to the Department of Budget and Management, a total of P6 billion pesos has been released to RCEF, and the balance of P4 billion will be released before the end of the year.

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