Thursday, April 17, 2008

News Release: Pullout of NFA rice in wet markets impractical, illogical - Anakbayan National

April 17, 2008

Eleanor de Guzman
Chairperson, 09282555423

Sarah Katrina Maramag
Vice-chairperson/Media Officer, 09193486790

Pullout of NFA rice in wet markets impractical, illogical - Anakbayan
Price control most urgent solution to bring rice 'closer to masses'

Multisectoral youth group Anakbayan today slammed the Arroyo administration's pullout of the P18.25-per-kilo government-subsidized rice from wet markets saying that the move is impractical and illogical.

"If the rationale is 'to bring cheap rice closer to the masses' then this scheme is not the ample resolution for it but yet another move that could cause further chaos in the metro. Expect longer lines to stretch out in a mere handful of congested areas," said Anakbayan national chairperson Eleanor de Guzman.

"It is also another matter if we take into consideration the competence and efficiency of the 'Tindahan Natin' stalls," de Guzman said, noting that a majority of the said government outlets have closed down over the years due to neglect and lack of systematic operational procedures.

Even parishes and barangay centers have expressed misgivings and limitations to capably implement the said scheme.

De Guzman said that price control by the government is still the most imperative solution to genuinely address the inaccessibility of affordable rice to the masses.

"We see no logic in the idea of replacing cheap NFA rice with the P25 per kilo imported grain so that the 'middle class' would not add to the growing lines of those in clamor for cheap rice," de Guzman said.

"Segregation of consumers is not the answer, especially now that even the middle class are understandably tightening their belts in light of likewise soaring prices of pump prices and other basic goods. The most logical thing still is to opt for cheap rice, that's P18.25 over P35, P38 or even P25 per kilo any day."

Anakbayan said that it is currently embarking on a 'Kalderong dapat may laman' campaign nationwide, an educational caravan promoting awareness on the government's liberalization, deregulation and privatization policies and lack of political will to mete out price control and policy-related solutions to the rice crisis.

Students and community-based youth are formed into teams to do the rounds in depressed areas and communities for the campaign.

The youth group said that it would announce a 'Kalderong dapat may laman' day of action in key urban poor communities in the following days before May 1.

"The present rice crisis is an emotional matter to each and every Filipino. Expect more actions and protests to snowball in the weeks to come," said de Guzman. ###

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