Author: Ruth Lumibao
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Philippine Statistics Authority.
MANILA – In a forum about the worsening rice crisis in the Philippines held on March 2, Anakpawis Partylist Representative Ariel Casilao announced that the Makabayan bloc will soon refile an updated version of a bill entitled the Rice Industry Development Act (RIDA).
RIDA was first filed during the term of former Anakpawis Partylist Representative and former Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) welcomed this development and is currently holding consultations with farmers’ organizations and consumer advocates on necessary improvements to the proposed legislation.
According to KMP Chairperson Danilo Ramos, this legislation will hopefully solve the rice crisis in the Philippines and be a contributory step to achieving genuine agrarian reform. One of the factors that instigated the rice crisis is the inability of the National Food Authority (NFA) to fulfill its mandate to ensure food security. Instead, it has acted as a ‘broker of rice importation and trading and a virtual protector of the rice cartel’.
“The problem with the current NFA is that it is remiss on its mandate to ensure food security. Instead of protecting the interests and welfare of rice farmers and consumers, it has freely given control of the rice industry to private traders and importers,” Ramos said in a statement.