When we were young, we always used to hear “bawal magsayang ng kanin kahit ilang butil pa iyan” from our parents meaning we should not waste rice even in its smallest portion. In the Philippines, rice is everything to the people. Filipinos are known for consuming two to three or even more serving of rice a day it has been one of the most important food to be serve on the table partnering it with our favourite ‘ulam’. But do people ever wonder where our rice came from? How do farmers work hard for us to have rice to eat?
Last February 15, 2019, our President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Rice Tariffication bill into law. Due to price hike that caused rice to hit almost P70 per kilo last year, our president took immediate action regarding this issue. According to Finance Undersecretary, Tony Lambino, the law will cut the price of rice to P7 per kilo while the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas predicts that it will also cut inflation by 0.6 percent.
Rice Tariffication Law aims for Filipinos to have various access to imported rice with affordable price to avoid rice shortage. Countries like Vietnam and Thailand are one of the top competitors of our Filipino farmers which gives them a hard time. According to Rice Tariffication Law, farmers are protected by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund with an annual P10 billion amount for this program that will address the increase of the income of the farmers, fund and assist them with their development of farming which includes the equipments needed.
But why do we hear news that farmers are struggling saying that they are not getting enough? Some farmers said that they do not feel that they are being helped out by the government. The Rice Tariffication Law only made things worse for the lives of our farmers. The current retail price of their harvest reached to its lowest cost making them poorer.
We all know that there are not much of things we can do for our farmers, but we can help them by supporting them by buying local rice only. We can be the voice of our struggling farmers by sharing the information to the public with the use of social media, keeping everyone updated on what is happening in our resources and the livelihood of our farmers. After all, we will be affected by this issue sooner or later, that is why we should start making a move for a change.