President Duterte was asked by a group of farmer-importers to intercede in their behalf after the National Food Authority (NFA) extended until Mar. 31, 2017 the importation of rice, but only from India and Pakistan and not from other rice-exporting countries like Vietnam and Thailand.
In a press briefing in Quezon City, Edwin Paraluman, chairman of the Philippine Farmers Advisory Board (PFAB), branded as unfair the decision of NFA Administrator Jason Aquino to bar the importation of rice from countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.
He noted that members of his group who are mostly lowly farmers have incurred huge losses as a result of Aquino’s decision.
However, Paraluman remained mum on Aquino’s decision to grant the extension of rice importation only to India and Pakistan, citing that the administrator’s decision was a clear proof of double standard as his group was prevented from importing rice from India and Pakistan after February 28.
Gerry Magisa another leader of the farmer importer group in Agusan said he already paid for including the required tariff for his rice import from Thailand and Vietnam but the delivery was snagged due to the NFA’s decision.
“Rice imported from Thaildand and Vietnam cannot be delivered in the Philippines since Customs can seize it without the March 31 rice importation extension since it will them be considered smuggled goods.