Mabalacat City—The Bantay Bigas rice watch group, the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women and Anakpawis Party-list on Friday said Filipino rice farmers lost at least P74.8 billion in 2019 due to low farmgate prices of palay.
The three groups blamed this on the implementation of Republic Act 11203, or Rice Liberalization Law.
“It has been a trend, since the country joined the World Trade Organization in 1995, when there was even the slightest buzz of arrival of imported rice, farm gate prices at the barrios are forced down by traders, throwing farmers into bankruptcy and indebtedness. It is worse now, because it was institutionalized by RA 11203,” said Rafael Mariano, former Anakpawis Party-list lawmaker.
Anakpawis stated that it opposed the law during its deliberation at the Lower House and as alternative primarily pushed for the Rice Industry Development Act (Rida) bill during the 17th congress.
The bill, now House Bill 477 being pushed by Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas, proposes the authentic development program for the national rice industry, involving the three-year allocation of P495 billion, which includes P185 billion for its core programs and P310 billion for the procurement program of the NFA.