Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Govt spends P8.6B on rice subsidies in first half

07/16/2008 | 01:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The national government, through the National Food Authority (NFA), spent P8.6 billion from January to June this year to subsidize rice, an official statement on Tuesday quoted Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap as having said in a forum at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) last week.

The statement from the Agriculture department said Mr. Yap told participants in that forum that his department has distributed nearly 14.8 million bags of state-subsidized rice this year.

NFA Spokesman Rex C. Estoperez, in a separate interview Tuesday, explained that the P8.6 billion "represents the direct loss of NFA, considering only the basic costexcluding miscellaneous and incidental expenses like storage cost."

Mr. Yap said the NFA rice stocks, as well as other basic commodities, were distributed and sold through 3,197 Bigasan ni Gloria sa Palengke, 8,080 Tindahan Natin outlets, 540 Bigasan sa Parokya, and 199 rolling stores nationwide.

The department, he added, also has 108 Barangay Bagsakan or drop-off points — 36 in Metro Manila and 72 elsewhere in the country — and 30 Bagsakan Centers that provide affordable basic food items to about 504,350 poor households.

Mr. Yap noted that to ensure that the P18.25-per-kilo subsidized rice do reach poor consumers, the government has set up additional 1,399 new Tindahan Natin outlets.

The current rice shortage and price increase of rice is not due to lack of rice output but because of the subsequent rice monopoly strategy being done not by business men but by the government. It was once said in an TV interview that the Philippines offered a tender in the international market a price of 45pesos per kilo...Now, in the local trading un-milled rice is being bought at 10pesos to only as high as 15pesos..The National Food Authority also buys un-milled rice from farmers at this very low prices. Now who in the right mind would buy in the international market 45pesos per kilo rice?? The government does not need to tender that high in the international market..They could have bought the local rice from farmers at 25pesos!! In these way, more farmers will be happy and the cost of rice per kilo would not ballon to 35pesos per kilo..

The government strategy is not for the sake of the people but it is for the sake of the few..You can expect that the 45pesos per kilo tendered at the international market, politicians or high ranking government employees will have huge kickbacks with it..

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