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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, October 11, 2018
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‘Gov’t ignored warning
on rice shortage’


Suspension of the fuel excise tax hike can hasten the release of the unconditional cash transfer assistance and its expansion.

These are among the solutions recommended by Vice President Leni Robredo to minimize the impact of inflation, about which she had warned the present administration since the start of this year.

Robredo reiterated her call for the suspension of the fuel excise tax hike, that will have another round of increase starting January under the TRAIN 1 (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act) law.

Noting signs of the impending rice shortage since last year, Robredo, who spoke before the 5 th Negros Occidental Small Fishers Alliance Congress at Business Inn in Bacolod City, yesterday said the incumbent administration did not listen to her warning about the shortage of rice.

While the administration blamed the prices of fuel to inflation, Robredo said it is only one of the many factors. What has driven the inflation is the prices of rice, she said.

“We have neighboring countries which have also encountered oil price hikes, but their inflation did not even rise substantially compared to us,” Robredo explained.

She said that the administration is neglecting the difficulty being experienced by the Filipino people, adding that some people are starting to worry if they could still feed their families.

During a visit to Zamboanga, Robredo said she talked to one family and found out that they did not have enough money to buy rice and had resorted to eating root crops, such as cassava.

She called on the present administration to hasten the implementation of the unconditional cash transfer, as only seven of the 10 million families have availed of it as of this month, while the remaining three million families have been waiting since January.

Robredo also said the cash transfer should also be expanded to include fishermen in the program, or include them in the "Pantawid Pasada" program that currently covers only the transport sector.

The current inflation rate of the country, that was 6.4 percent in August, rose to 6.7 percent in September.

Asked how she would rate the government action against inflation, Robredo lamented the snail-paced action of the administration, with the rice problem also triggered by infighting at the National Food Authority.*


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