With the increased competition from imported rice, partly in connection with the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law since it was enacted into law last year, the price of rice has drastically fallen but the cost of rice production including the farm fertilizers and pesticides remains high. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported last August 2019, the notable increases in fertilizer prices were notably in rice producing regions like Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas and the Bangsamoro Region.
The present plight of the Filipino farmers prompted Bataan 1st District Congresswoman Geraldine B. Roman to file House Bill no. 5450 or “An Act Exempting from Taxes Fertilizers and Pesticides Used in Rice Production.” Roman said this bill seeks to exempt from all taxes the fertilizers and pesticides used in rice production to make them more affordable and enable farmers to earn reasonable profit. “Hangad ng House Bill 5450 na ibaba ang halaga ng mga pesticides at fertilizers upang mas maging produktibo ang mga ani at magkaroon ng mas mataas na kita ang ating magsasaka,” Roman said thru her Facebook Page post.
Congresswoman Roman. who is now on her second term, said she wants the House Committee on Agriculture and Food to conduct a thorough investigation on the complaints from most farmers about the continuous rise of prices of fertilizers and pesticides. “Ito ang dahilan kung bakit napipilitan ang mga magsasaka na gumamit ng mas kaunting halaga ng pataba o pestisidyo kaysa sa inirerekomenda na nagreresulta sa mas mababang produksyon,” Rep. Roman. In relation to this, Congresswoman Roman also recently filed House Bill 4625 or the “Filipino Farmers First Act” which seeks to mandate all rice retailers to identify locally produced rice as produce by Filipino farmers. “Ang agrikultura ay isa sa mga sandigan ng ating bansa. Sa pamamagitan ng ating mga magsasaka ay matitiyak natin na mayroong makakain ang bawat Pilipino subalit hindi nila magagampanan ang tungkuling ito kung ang mga produkto nila ay hindi mabibili,” Roman added. Mhike Cigaral