Rice liberalization law and Marcos Jr to blame for highest rice price inflation – updates from the peasant movement of the Philippines

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) asserted that RA 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law and its persistent implementation is to blame for the highest rice price inflation since March 2009.
“It is an undisputable fact that massive rice importation does not guarantee lower rice prices in the domestic retail market. Lalong tumataas ang presyo ng bigas na umaabot na ngayon sa P54 kada kilo pataas para sa regular milled rice at hanggang P63 para sa well milled rice.”

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), average rice price inflation felt by all-income households averaged 22.6 percent for January this year, making it the fastest rice price inflation in the past 14 years.

Rice inflation in November 2023 was at 15.8% and 19.6% in December 2023, respectively. For the bottom 30 percent of households and poorest Filipinos, rice inflation rose to 24.8 percent.  

KMP said the Marcos Jr administration has become synonymous with high rice prices. “Ordinary Filipinos must decisively hold accountable Marcos Jr for his failed promise to lower rice prices. Since the 2019 rice liberalization, rice prices skyrocketed and have become unaffordable for most Filipinos. Even middle-income families are opposing the rising cost of rice, food, and other basic goods.”

KMP, Bantay Bigas, and AMIHAN National Federation of peasant women will lead a protest on February 14 coinciding with the 5th year of RA 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law. “All complaints and grievances related to high rice prices should be directed at Marcos Jr and Malacanang. Filipinos must assert our inherent right to food and food security which are now severely undermined by government policies such as RA 11203, massive rice importation, and reduction of tariffs.” “Walang saysay ang sinasabing pagbagal ng inflation. Todo at diretso sa masang Pilipino ang epekto ng bawat pagtaas ng presyo ng bigas,” according to KMP Secretary General Ronnie Manalo, citing rice as among the country’s main grain staple.

“We enjoin the public to complain and protest the ever-increasing rice and food prices. We have all the right to protest against rice liberalization and other policies contributing to the worsening national poverty and hunger.” ##

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Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) was founded at a time of great political upheaval and broad mass movement against the tyranny and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. Hundreds of peasant leaders and land reform advocates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao gathered during the historic founding of KMP on July 24, 1985. After thirty five years, KMP remains as the largest national democratic mass organization of peasants in the Philippines.

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