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DA counters rice shortage claim, confirms supply for 45 days

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol

MANILA, Philippines – There is no shortage of rice supply.

This was the assurance of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol amid speculations of supply shortage eventually causing price hike in rice.

Tumaas ang presyo ng bigas at ang mga traders naman in response doon sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bigas, nagpaligsahan sa pagbili ng what ever the available harvest there was,” the Secretary said.

Earlier today, Piñol met with rice industry stakeholders including farmers, dealers and retailers to confirm the true state of the country’s rice supply as well as the movement of rice prices in local markets at present.

Piñol said, though they assured that there is enough supply of rice in the country, the overall buffer stock, comprised of those stocked in households, those out in commercial markets and those inside the warehouses of the National Food Authority (NFA), is enough for nationwide consumption of only up to 45 days.

The Agriculture Secretary explained that there were delays in deliveries of imported rice because of port congestion and successive days of monsoon rain.

He noted that because of the speculations, the price of commercial rice shot up.

Meanwhile, rice millers assured that there is no hoarding of supply at this time.

 “Some millers from Central Luzon, ang supply nila nanggagaling sa amin. Pag bumili sila sa amin binibigyan namin sila ng palay para meron silang ma-mill dito sa Central Luzon. Iyon ang actual na nangyayari sa Isabela kaya there is no hoarding,” explained Ernesto Suvia of Golden Harvest Rice Mill.

For now, the DA said they trust the traders and millers that rice supply in the country is indeed enough.

However, the agency said they still have to validate if such state is true.

“But I told them that government reserves the right to validate. And validation would mean the inspection of their warehouses with warning that anybody caught hoarding rice will be prosecuted and the stocks will be confiscated,” Secretary Piñol warned.

Meanwhile, the DA is now contemplating on another importation of rice supply in preparation for the possible effects of el niño that is likely to occur in the last quarter of the year. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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Piñol to be ‘very strict’ in managing P10B/y farmers’ fund under RCEF

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol

MANILA, Philippines – Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on Thursday (April 4) said he will make sure that the P10 billion per year Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) will be profitably expended up to the last centavo.

The DA is now awaiting the final draft of the Rice Tariffication Law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to be able to begin improvements in farm mechanization, seed distribution and be able to provide agriculture financing programs for farmers as stated in the law.

As directed by President Rodrigo Duterte, Secretary Piñol will solely manage and oversee the disbursements of the RCEF.

With this huge responsibility, the secretary said he will ensure that the fund will be free of any irregularity.

“I will be solely accountable for the disbursement and utilization of the RCEF funds. And because of that, I will be very, very strict about it,” Piñol said.

Through the additional financial assistance, Piñol is confident that local farmers will have the chance to compete with the demands of the market and improve their yield while there is a reduction in production costs.

Meanwhile, the Secretary said they are still in the process of adjusting the separation pay of retiring employees and NFA staff who will be affected by the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.

The concerned employees are appealing for similar benefits as their counterparts in the ARMM or the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) who will also be affected by the new law.

However, the final decision on the issue will still depend on the government’s economic managers.

“Kung talagang iyon ang desisyon ng economic managers then I will sign the IRR (If that is the decision of the economic managers, then I will sign the IRR),” he concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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Piñol defends Usec. Carpio amid drug allegations

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

(L-R) Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Waldo Carpio

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol shared his thoughts on the issue linking one of his officials to illegal drugs.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Waldo Carpio is being implicated in a controversy along with presidential son former Davao City Mayor Paulo Duterte.

Carpio is the brother of Atty. Mans Carpio, the husband of Paulo’s sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Piñol said he has no complaints against Usec. Carpio being the DA’s head for Special Concerns, the office managing the agency’s programs with international partners.

“Okay naman (ang performance niya),” the DA chief said.

Carpio was assigned as Assistant Secretary to the DA in September 2018 and was promoted to the position of undersecretary just two months later.

Piñol said he is not convinced by the claims of the whistleblower in a recent viral video linking Usec. Carpio to illegal drug trade.

“That’s pure canard. Maski si Pulong di ako maniwala dyan,” Piñol said.

The man in the video known as alias Bikoy alleged that Paulo Duterte is receiving drug money from illegal drugs operations in Southern Luzon and the Visayas region.

Allegedly, a monthly remittance of P30 million drug money had been transmitted to dummy accounts named under Usec. Carpio.

In an unconfirmed social media account named under Waldo Reyes Carpio, the Undersecretary was seen in photos of campaign sorties of then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

He is a nephew of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

President Duterte was among the principal sponsors in Usec. Carpio’s wedding.

The UNTV News Team has sought for Carpio’s comment but the undersecretary is currently on an official trip abroad.

He is expected to return to the country next week. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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DA braces for possible scarcity of rice supply in world market

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture warns of a possible scarcity of rice supply in the world market.

With this scenario, UP Professor Teodoro Mendoza, an agronomist, is dubious that the price of rice will remain low.

The Department of Finance projects a two to seven-peso price reduction in per kilogram of rice once the rice tariffication law takes effect.

Mendoza fears that the rice crisis that happened in 2008, wherein the price of rice in the world market reached one thousand dollars per metric ton, might have a repeat this year.

He added that the country’s decision to import rice in millions of tons has caused the price of rice to skyrocket.

With the rice tariffication law, there will be no more limit to the importation of rice as long as importers will pay the necessary taxes.

“Pag tumaas ng $1,000 per metric ton, ang presyo ng bigas magiging 54 o 53 pesos per kilogram na ho doon pa lamang sa importing country. So ipasa mo pa yung transport at saka yung retail cost, aabot na po ng about 65 pesos per kilogram ang ating bigas [Once the price of rice goes up to $1000 per metric ton, the importing country will price it at 54 r 53 pesos per kilogram. With the transportation and retail cost, it will reach P65 per kilogram],” Mendoza explained.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, on the other hand, said only as much as 3 million metric tons of rice is available for sale in the world market.

He said he fears a scenario where a calamity hits any of the rice exporting countries.

With this, the agency urges the local farmers to continue planting rice to prepare the country for possible effects in case rice supply scarcity goes severe.

“Halimbawa tinamaan ng El Niño yung Vietman, halimbawa tinamaan ng El Nino yung Thailand, Cambodia sabay-sabay. Kung wala na tayong sufficient rice supply, maski may pera pa tayong pambili, wala tayong mabibiling bigas sa merkado [Let’s say El Nino hits Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. If we have no sufficient rice supply, even if we have the means to buy, there won’t be available rice for sale in the market],” said Piñol.

Professor Mendoza is also concerned about the possibility of farmers losing interest in planting rice if they will not profit from it.

It can be recalled that the price of rice grains or palay has immediately gone as low as 15 to 17 pesos per kilogram after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Rice Tariffication Law.

As a result of the law, the Department of Agriculture is now facing the challenge to make do with the P10-billion subsidy in improving the level of farming in the country.

Piñol said they would already need P27-Billion for fertilizers alone for one cropping season. The Agriculture chief said the department is doing its part to address the needs of farmers for free seedlings, solar irrigation and interest-free loans. – Maris Federez (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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