August 10, 2022

Emmanuel "Manny" F. Piñol

Official Website

Sabi ko na nga ba! Diokno Shows True Colors: Tells PFRMJr. To Keep RTL

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Just as I suspected, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno has proven to be a loyal member of the cabal of Neo-Liberal Economists who sees food production as just another economic activity rather than an “existential imperative” for the nation according to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
By publicly challenging the campaign promise of the new President to review and amend the Rice Tariffication Law, Diokno has shown his true colors and allegiance to the gang of Economists who brought the country’s Food Security situation to its precarious state now, largely dependent on imports.
The power to appoint whoever he wishes is totally a Presidential prerogative and I will never question Pres. Marcos’ selection of Diokno as the head of the Economic Team of his administration.
But Diokno should be told to just confine himself to matters of the Economy because the new President had already publicly manifested that “Food is not just a trade commodity.”
Diokno either does not understand Agriculture or is simply anti-Agriculture.
This was my conclusion when he questioned my proposal as Agriculture Secretary to former President Rodrigo Duterte during a Cabinet meeting to increase the coverage of irrigation facilities because we needed to irrigate 80,000 hectares every year to catch up with population growth.
Citing data he was reading from a piece of paper, Diokno said increased irrigation coverage did not result in increased production.
Muntik akong mahulog sa upuan ko nang marinig ko yon.
In a Congressional hearing on the President’s Budget, Congressmen asked Diokno, as Budget Secretary, why very little money was allocated for Agriculture and his answer was “It is a sunset industry.”
Now, he is telling his Principal publicly to renege on his commitment to the Filipino rice farmers to review and amend the Rice Tariffication Law.
Sabi nya, okey na daw ngayon kasi hindi na contributor to inflation ang presyo ng bigas.
Mukhang nakalimutan (o kinakalimutan) ni Diokno na bago ang Fake Rice Crisis (I will write about this later) in July to August 2018, ang presyo ng bigas sa palengke was P36 per kilo.
The National Food Authority (NFA) also had a P27/kilo rice available for poor Filipino families.
Ngayon ang presyo ng magandang klaseng imported na bigas ay P40 to P60 at nawala na ang P27/kilo na NFA rice.
Bago ang RTL, ang presyo ng palay ng mga magsasaka ay umabot ng P20/kilo pero ngayon bumagsak ng P14 at meron pang P12 sa ibang bahagi ng bansa.
Both the consumers and the farmers did not benefit from the RTL.
Kung meron mang nakinabang ng malaki, sila yong mga importers at mga traders, kasama na ang mga technical smugglers who misdeclared the classification of imported rice to pay less tariff.
The call of the Philippine Rice Industry sector is a review and amendment of the Rice Tariffication Law, not a total repeal, because there are loopholes which must be plugged.
If Diokno believes otherwise, I am willing to face him in a public debate on the Rice Tariffication Law.