Duterte orders DA to suspend rice importation

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019   •   1058

Filipino port workers unload sacks of rice, which are imported from Vietnam to be distributed by the National Food Authority (NFA), inside a ship docked at Surigao port, Mindanao, southern Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (November 19) said he has ordered Agriculture Sec. William Dar to suspend rice importation because it’s harvest time for local rice.

He clarified, however, that rice importation is still necessary to maintain enough volume of rice supply in the country.

“Ang problema, hindi ka kasi makaasa dito sa producers (The problem is you cannot depend on the producers),” the President said.

“Magsabi sila: ‘Makatanim kami. Ma-harvest lang namin, (They should tell us: “We’ll plant rice. Give us time to harvest) we can fill up two-thirds or one-third of the requirement.’ Correct. Iyan ang sabi mo, pero hindi mo alam ang sitwasyon ng mundo mo (That’s what you believe but you don’t really know what’s happening in your industry),” he added.

Even so, the President said he has no plans of suspending the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law because he believes the law will solve problems in corruption in the country’s rice industry.

“What is the other remedy? Nothing. I cannot stop tariffication. Why? To erase corruption,” he said.

He also stressed that balancing rice supply through importation will prevent ‘food crisis.’

The President, nevertheless, assured that the government is willing to spend funds to support the needs of local farmers. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Rice Tarrification Law, importation ‘ravage’ agricultural sector — Marcos

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant, former senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos believes that rice importation being adopted by the government has been posing a challenge to the agricultural sector.

Marcos made the statement during the Agri 2022 online forum where the topic of suspending the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law surfaced.

“I understand that during the crisis, during the pandemic, our government decided to use importations to maintain the price of rice. Okay, that’s been effective. [But] the problem with importation and the Rice Tarrification Law is that it ravages the local agriculture,” Marcos said.

“But in the short term there’s still much that we can do. I think, ako, I wouldn’t mind if we suspend the Rice Tarrification Law first because it’s really destroying [the industry]. NFA is now buying Php18 to Php19. People don’t plant anymore at Php19,” he added.

Marcos also said that there are now very few younger generations who would want to venture into agriculture due to very small revenues being actually earned by farmers. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Philippines, Japan renew strategic ties

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday renewed their commitment to strengthen the strategic relations between the Philippines and Japan.

In a press statement, the Office of the President (OP) said the two leaders renewed their commitment through a telephone conversation on Wednesday (November 17).

“The phone call between Duterte and Kishida came a week after the latter was re-elected as Japan’s prime minister by parliament,” the Palace said.

President Duterte congratulated Prime Minister Kishida on his election and the Government of Japan on the success of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, Malacañang said.

“The President also recalled Prime Minister Kishida’s visit in Davao in August 2016 when the latter paid a courtesy call as Foreign Minister of Japan. Prime Minister Kishida was the first Foreign Minister received by President Duterte,” it added.

The Palace further said that Duterte and Kishida agreed to undertake an exchange of visits “at a mutually agreed time to further reaffirm the Philippines-Japan partnership and personal friendship.”

“They likewise exchanged views on regional developments and multilateral issues, including the South China Sea issue, the situation in Myanmar and the Korean Peninsula, and non-proliferation,” it added.

Duterte also acknowledged how Japan has been “indeed a friend closer than a brother” after it sent assistance in the Philippines’ coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response and recovery efforts.

The President also thanked Japan for supporting the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, the peace process and grassroots development in Mindanao, and the ongoing transition process of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Japan is unrivaled among our bilateral partners,” Duterte told Kishida.

The Palace said Duterte also informed Kishida that he is looking forward to the successful implementation of projects and activities aimed at enhancing the Philippines’ cooperation with Japan in the field of maritime security, particularly in maritime domain awareness, maritime connectivity, and preservation of the marine environment.

On his part, Kishida acknowledged that the Philippines-Japan relations “have indeed reached its golden age under President Duterte’s administration.”

The Japanese official gave his commitment that “Japan will continue supporting the Philippines’ peace and development agenda in Mindanao, ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The OP further said that Kishida “conveyed his government’s readiness to further strengthen Japan’s partnership in maritime security by supporting the upgrading of the Philippines’ maritime law enforcement capabilities.”

“President Duterte and Prime Minister Kishida agreed that it is high time for the Philippines and Japan to pursue deeper security engagement and coordination by launching a Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting or 2+2 meeting,” Malacañang said.

“The Philippines and Japan celebrate two milestones this year — 65 years of normalized diplomatic relations and 10 years of Strengthened Strategic Partnership,” the Palace said. —/mbmf

Go belies allegation of controlling Duterte

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go has belied the allegation of retired Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, Jr. that he is controlling the decisions of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement released Monday (November 15), Go averred that President Duterte himself said that no one is controlling him.

“Nasagot na mismo ni Pangulong Duterte na walang nagko-kontrol sa kanya,” Go said.

“Siya mismo ang nagsabi na hindi naman siya magiging pangulo kung pinapaikot lang siya ng ibang tao.  Tanging siya ang gumagawa ng kanyang magagandang desisyon at tumutulong lang ako mula pa noon,” he added.

Go insists that the president makes his own decision and that he is just there to help as the chief executive’s assistant for more than two decades.

He further said that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) can attest on how he helped in the implementation of the President’s decision, particularly in the salary increases of uniformed personnel.

“Tanungin natin ang mga kasama niya sa AFP, PNP, etc.  Alam nila kung paano ako tumulong na maipatupad ang desisyon na ito ni Pangulong Duterte para sa kapakanan ng mga sundalo, pulis, bumbero at iba pa.”

Go said that he’d rather not dwell on the issue as he respects Parlade.

“Ayaw ko nang makipagsagutan kay Gen. Parlade dahil nirerespeto ko siya. Sa katunayan, isa rin ako sa nagrekomenda na maging undersecretary siya. Alam naman nila ang katotohanan. Mainit na ang pulitika. Pero hayaan natin ang taumbayan ang humusga.”

Parlade, on Monday, filed his certificate of candidacy as a substitute candidate for president, going against Go for the presidential seat in the 2022 national and local elections. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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