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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Marcos calls PH’s dependence on importation ‘unwise’

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday pointed out the biggest
lesson the Philippines learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is
its dependence on importation.

During the 10th Asian Summit, President Marcos was asked about the
current status of the Philippine economy post-pandemic, and the Chief
Executive hastily stated that the country had rebounded fairly well,
noting the 96% employment rate.

“We have really come back fairly well in the sense that we have been
able to return people to work and we just posted a 96 percent
employment rate,” said the President

Moreover, the President said that the pandemic has posed a problem
with the nation’s supply chains and its agricultural sector, hence the
country’s dependence on importation.

“I said, we cannot now continue to depend on importation which is what
has happened for the Philippines. In the past years, it became the
easy way out. Just import more, import more rice, import more corn,
import more everything,” said Mr. Marcos.

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“And the pandemic showed us that this was not a wise choice to have
made and so we have continued to develop our agricultural sector and
the aspiration once again is that we are able to provide a sufficient
supply of food at prices that people can afford,” he continued.

President Marcos, however, stressed that there is still a long way to
go before the rice supply in the market returns to normal but he
expressed his confidence that the administration had made many
important steps to start the road to recovery.

“We are trying to put the value chain, especially of agriculture, we
are trying to put that value chain together, all the way from research
and development (R&D), all the way to retail, to the market,” the
President said.

“And that’s not — there are bits and pieces of it that already exist
but they do not work as one system and that’s what we are trying to
achieve and we are slowly, slowly making inroads into that problem,”
he added.

His remarks came amid the ongoing crisis in rice supply and its surge
in prices in the country.

To soften the blow, President Marcos approved the recommendation of
government agencies to put mandated price caps on rice sold by
retailers which was implemented last September 5 across public markets
in the country.

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