By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday urged the administration to implement timely and sufficient safety nets for Filipino farmers after the signing of rice tariffication bill into law.
Robredo, an advocate of the poor who has worked with farmers groups, said farmers should be supported by the government given the effects of the newly-signed rice tariffication law.
The Vice President stressed the proper implementation of safety nets will be important for local farmers once the government lifts restrictions on rice importation.
“Sigurado na mababawasan iyong kita [ng mga magsasaka], kaya crucial dito sa usapin ano iyong gagawin para hindi maapektuhan nang masama iyong mga magsasaka,” she said on her Sunday radio show.
(For sure their income will be reduced that’s why the measures to be implemented are crucial so the farmers will not be badly affected.)
This, according to Robredo, will be important in the implementation of the law, as she noted the government’s failure to do this on time when the tax reform law took effect.
“Iyong nakakatakot lang dito, kung gagawin natin na test run iyong nangyari sa TRAIN Law, na napakabagal noong pag-implement ng mga safety nets para sa mga mahihirap, talagang maghihirap pang lalo iyong mga magsasaka,” she said.
(What is scary here, if they will do the test run like what happened in the TRAIN Law, the implementation of the safety nets for the poor was slow, the farmers would really become poorer.)
Robredo, who campaigns for those who are in the fringes of society, has been supportive of the passage of the rice tariffication bill, since the measure is expected to help further ease the price of rice in the local market.
While she acknowledged that the law may be able to help give consumers more affordable rice, Robredo called on the government to ensure that safety nets are in place, so that the burden will not be heavy on local farmers.