FILE PHOTO: National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo made rounds in different parts of the country to hear the sides of the people especially regarding the issue on rice.
According to Robredo, she has since received a lot of complaints about the high prices of basic commodities particularly the country’s staple.
“Ang bigas ngayon ay umaabot na sa P46.00 hanggang P80.00 pesos kada kilo. Ang galunggong, nasa P170.00 pesos. Ang pasahe sa Jeep umaabot na sa P9.00 sa ilang parte ng bansa”
Opposition officials have recommended a number of ways to solve the crisis, particularly an overhaul in the management system of the National Food Authority (NFA) as the main agency mandated to oversee the flow of rice supply in the country.
They reiterate that the situation will be rectified primarily with the resignation of NFA Administrator Jayson Aquino citing poor leadership and inaction over rice problems in the country.
“March pa lang of this year naghe-hearing na kami sa Senado. Pinagbibitiw na namin si Jason Aquino. Matagal na naming pinagbibitiw ang NFA administrator. N predict na rin natin na magkakaroon ng problema ditto. Hindi talaga maganda ang management ng NFA,” said opposition Senator Bam Aquino.
They also call for the suspension of the first package of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which they claim, is one of the main reasons why prices of basic goods are skyrocketing.
Robredo said the administration should adhere with the observation of economic leaders regarding the negative effects of TRAIN Law. One of which is the rising inflation which experts predict to double in January 2019 and will rise further come January 2020.
This concerns the opposition which Robredo believes, if not immediately addressed, the livelihood of majority of Filipinos will surely suffer.
“Sa simula pa lang ng taon ramdan na ng ating mamamayan ang pagtaas ng presyo. Inamin Din naman ng DOF na hindi nila inaasahan ang ganito ka laking pagtaas ng inflation,” she explained.
The Vice President also suggests the widening of coverage of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); the restructuring of the programs of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social Security System (SSS), the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Crop Insurance Incorporated — agencies that Filipinos are supposed to get immediate assistance from in times of crisis.
The opposition also hopes that the government will consider Senator Bam Aquino’s Bawas Presyo Bill which primarily aims to address the impact of rising inflation. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)