“Says gov’t nearing goal as ‘Kadiwa sa Pasko’ stalls now sell at P25/k“
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Wednesday he is getting closer to his campaign promise of having rice sell for P20 a kilo, but acknowledged that more needed to be done before this became a reality.
At the launch of the “Kadiwa ng Pasko” project, Mr. Marcos said rice is already being sold for P25 a kilo in the Kadiwa stalls and the National Food Authority (NFA).
“You can see that we are getting closer to our goal of P20 a kilo but let’s take it slowly. We’ll get there,” he said in Filipino.
The Kadiwa ng Pasko project was designed to address inflation by providing the people with affordable goods especially during the holiday season in coordination with the Department of Agriculture as the lead agency, Malacanang said.
Fourteen sites were opened simultaneously across the country on Wednesday, including 11 in the National Capital Region, one in Tacloban City, one in Davao De Oro, and one in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
The President was joined by First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos.
The program aims to provide a market for farmers and fishers for their produce without having to go through traders and middlemen.
Organizers expect them to have better income and, at the same time, provide the public access to more affordable, accessible, and high-quality merchandise.
The President said he hoped Filipinos would support the program, which aims to effectively promote the growth of local agricultural markets.
The Department of Agriculture, which Marcos also heads, said local commercial rice sells for between P38 and P50 per kilo.
At the launch of the Kadiwa ng Pasko project, Mr. Marcos said the government would set up more Kadiwa stores nationwide so more Filipinos would have access to cheaper agricultural produce even as the prices of commodities continue to rise.
“Life was really difficult for all of us, but there are ways to help. We will continue this even after Christmas. This is one of the ways the government can help the people,” the President said.
“As your government, we cannot do anything with the rising prices. We can’t do anything because the soaring prices of commodities were brought by external forces that we cannot control, but we are helping with the people’s capacity to buy,” he added.
Earlier this month, Mr. Marcos approved the importation of cheap fertilizer worth at least P4.16 billion from China that will be given to farmers for free as a subsidy in a bid to support them while lowering food prices.
Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) President and Chief Executive Officer Emmie Liza Perez-Chiong said her agency plans to buy an initial 150,000 metric tons of fertilizer this year from China at $470 per MT, for a total of $70.5 million or P4.16 billion, through a government-to-government arrangement.
The purchase is significantly lower from the current price of $650 per MT.
Mr. Marcos likewise directed Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno to extend the sovereign guarantee to PTIC’s P1 billion credit line from government-owned LandBank.
“I will also ask LandBank to allow DA to use its idle warehouses for the stockpiling of fertilizers,” the President said.
The DA has allotted P4.1 billion for subsidies to buy fertilizers to be given for free to farmers.
With the much lower cost, DA will be able to buy around 2.277 million bags of urea to be given to farmers through farmers’ groups and cooperatives.
The government plans to import around 300,000 MT of fertilizer to be used next year.