Press Release
September 7, 2018

'Mas maraming Pilipinong magugutom dahil sa inflation'--Nancy
...reminds BOC to distribute P200M seized rice to poor

"The clock is ticking at nakikita natin that the incidence of hunger caused by inflation ay napakataas particularly in poverty stricken areas in the Bicol region, Visayas, and Mindanao, including those internally displaced as a result of the conflict."

Senator Nancy Binay again urged the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to turn over the P200-million worth of smuggled rice the agency has seized to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other concerned agencies to help cover the rising cost of goods.

"Nakita naman natin sa balita na kung gusto ng pamahalaan, mabilis nilang nagagawan ng paraan. Tama na po siguro ang mga dahilan -- kailangan na nating gawan ng paraan ang patuloy na pagtaas ng bilihin lalo na ang bigas," she added.

Binay said that instead of letting the rice rot in its warehouses, the BOC should consider donating the over 2,500 tons of rice languishing in its warehouse to concerned agencies especially now that country is facing its highest inflation rate in nine years.

"Inflation has worsened the incidence of hunger, and the scale and depth of the immediate impact of inflation have shocking effects on poor families. Bago pa mabulok sa warehouse ang mga bigas, mas mabuting mapakinabangan na ito ng ating mga kababayan," she pointed out.

Binay said the BOC should also consider helping Zamboanga city and Basilan after both were placed under state of calamity due to commercial rice prices driving up to as much as P70-P100 per kilo in remote villages.

"Muli po tayong nananawagan kay Commissioner Isidro Lapeña ng Customs na i-turn over na lang ng kanilang ahensya ang mga nasabat nilang bigas sa DSWD at iba pang concerned agencies ng pamahalaan," she added.

Binay also urged Customs not to dilly-dally on this issue since the country's economic development cluster already acknowledged the need to implement reforms to reduce food prices for Filipino families.

"The ripple effects of inflation are just as critical. An estimated 10 million Filipinos living below the poverty line are now facing hunger and acute levels of food shortage. At lolobo pa ito hanggang next year if government does not arrest the situation. Malaking bagay po kung ibabahagi ng Customs sa DA ang mga nasabat nilang bigas para makatulong sa kanilang programa doon," she added.

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