MAKABAYAN, ANAKPAWIS FILE HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2108 ON ZAMBOANGA CITY RICE CRISIS

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2108 ON ZAMBOANGA CITY RICE CRISIS

Republic of the Philippines

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Quezon City

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS

Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2108

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INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES

ARIEL B. CASILAO,

CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE, EMMI A. DE JESUS, ANTONIO L. TINIO,

ARLENE D. BROSAS, FRANCE L. CASTRO, AND SARAH JANE I. ELAGO

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RESOLUTION

DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FOOD

TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION,

ON THE ZAMBOANGA CITY RICE CRISIS, THAT GENERATED PRICE SHOCKS ON COMMERCIAL RICE TO P65 TO P70 PER KILOGRAM

WHEREAS, on August 21, 2018, the Zamboanga City Council declared a state of calamity, so as to enable the local government unit to control prices of commercial rice and to buy buffer stocks using a P15-million calamity fund. This was due to dwindling supply and prices of commerical rice climbed to P65 to P70 per kilogram in remote villages such as Pamucutan and Manalipa, according to its executive, Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar;

WHEREAS, the city council issued a resolution to control prices of commercail rice at P42 per kilogram and Mayor Salazar ordered an inspection of warehouses to ensure that traders are not hoarding rice;

WHEREAS, the city official cited as main reasons for the calamity: the recent fire in Jolo town, Sulu province, where cultivated rice usually shipped to Zamboanga were distributed to residents; the “closure of the Malaysian border,” through which rice is traded; under lean months, or period before the seasonal harvesting of palay;

WHEREAS, Salazar expected stocks to arrive in September coming from neighboring parts in the Zamboanga peninsula;

WHEREAS, Zamboanga City, needs 180,000 bags of rice to have a 3-month buffer stock but has only received 40,000 to 50,000 bags from the National Food Authority;

WHEREAS, Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol warned of the vulnerability of Zamboanga and nearby provinces Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, as they usually rely on imports to keep up with the local demands;

WHEREAS, Secretary Piñol said that “for many years, these areas have relied on smuggled rice from Vietnam and Thailand, which is brought into the country via Sabah. Smuggled rice was sold in the market at prices lower than locally produced commercial rice and local officials hardly lifted a finger to stop the illegal activity;”

WHEREAS, according to Bantay Bigas rice watch group, the rice crisis of Zamboanga City is a microcosm of the instability of food security in the country, where self-sufficiency is neglected, the stock is controlled or dominated by the private sector, and the government agency, NFA who is mandated to stablize supply and prices totally rely on imports, and abandoned local procurement of palay from Filipino farmers;

WHEREAS, NFA denied any responsibility to the emergency, but Bantay Bigas asserted that it is their mandate to stabilize supply and prices of rice all over the country, but its policies and reliance to importation has led to its incapacity to check or counter profiteering practices of commercial rice traders;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Agriculture and Food, to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the Zamboanga City rice crisis, that generate price shocks on commercial rice to P65 to P70 per kilogram.

Adopted,

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