“Ano gusto nilang ipakain sa atin, daga?(What do they want to feed us, rats?)”
Thus, exclaimed House Asst. Minority Leader and Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas in airing her frustration over the alleged failure of government to stop or even slow down soaring prices of food.
In a press briefing of the House minority, Brosas reacted to media questions over the increasing prices of pork, vegetables, and rice, noting that its inflationary effects will make life even more difficult for Filipinos who are already facing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Doble ang itinaas ng baboy, pati ang bigas. Kahit nga kuneho at kambing ay nagtaasan rin ang presyo. (Pork prices doubled, even rice. Prices of rabbit and goat also soared),” Brosas noted.
In exasperation, Brosas exclaimed that government’s inability to address the situation might push people to feed on rats.
While the idea can be sickening to some people but field mice are actually a delicacy in some parts of the Philippines.
To help bring down prices, Brosas asked government to carry out swift measures that would subsidize the urgent needs of farmers, hog raisers and other members of the agriculture sector.
Reacting on the same food price issue, Asst. Minority Leader and Magsasaka Partylist Rep. Argel Cabatabat said the nearly 100 percent hike in prices of pork and similar price movement in other basic agricultural products has triggered a situation that is “merciless and shocking to conscience” as its it impacts strongly on the lives of the poor who live on subsistence.
“But at the heart of it all, food inflation is a symptom, a glaring proof of the ailing state of our agriculture. It is our collective failure to protect our agricultural workers — our small-scale farmers and fishermen, and the deprioritization of agricultural programs to strengthen our country’s roadmap to food sovereignty that worsen the situation,” noted Cabatbat.
The minority bloc lawmaker said government must move fast to help both farmers and consumers. He called for a stronger programs for development of more farm-to-market roads, input support, modernization, mechanization, transportation and storage.
“Finally, we need to shift our priority focus to attaining self-sufficiency and food sovereignty. The only framework that can address the recurrence of our problems regarding food is to have full autonomy in supply product,” stressed Cabatbat.
In the same press briefing, Deputy Minority Leader and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo said that while there is justification in increasing salaries to help people fight off inflation, especially of food prices, this move may not be advisable while the country is still facing the pandemic.
“First step ay alamin ang dahilan ng pagtaas ng presyo kasi if we can address the sources of inflation directly, what we need is to put the prices to the normal level,” said Quimbo.