President Duterte: “No rice shortage”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses the pressing concerns of the country during a dialogue with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo at the Malacañan Palace on September 11, 2018. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MALACAÑANG — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, September 11, made an assurance that his administration is working to ease the burden of the public in the midst of rising prices of essential commodities.

In a one-on-one interview with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, the President said his economic managers are finding ways to address the current situation.

Asked by Atty. Panelo whether it is reasonable to assume that the present difficulties are temporary, he said, “Yes.” However, the President was also aware of the inflation, and said that the government is doing its best to overcome it. “The economic life of a country cannot be all beds of roses. So, marami akong option. Wala namang hinto ‘yang importation natin,” the President pointed out.

In the issue of rice shortage, the Chief Executive reiterated that there is no such thing, noting that some people are controlling the supply. “Yan nga ang sabi ko, ‘yung iba kino-control. They are back into it again… the bad practice of manipulation to make money at the expense of your own countrymen. ‘Yan ang ayaw ko,” he said.

Apart from rice importation to normalize the situation, the President said, “Wala namang hinto ‘yang importation natin. But if worse comes to worst, I will open Sabah. Ayan talaga. Free for all na. Busog lahat. Mura eh. Ngayon, kung ipagbili mo dito ‘yan sa labas ng areas of Tawi-Tawi and Jolo, malulugi na tayo,” he explained.

The President told Atty. Panelo that he has been advocating the removal of tariffs on imports, allowing importers to ship in food products. He said he would appoint somebody he thinks could effectively manage such arrangements.

Arguing the National Food Council was ineffective, the President said he would recommend to Congress to abolish the body.

“It has not done any purpose, and it is not good. It only hinders the operation. Kasi it should be just handled by one man with the best interest of the nation,” the President said.

New telco player soon in PH

Meanwhile, during the interview, President Duterte mentioned that before the year ends, the public would be able to know the third player in the telecommunication industry.

He even emphasized that he will definitely make this a priority. “Matagal na ‘yun. Sabi nga December. I will — maybe late [or] early November, ‘pag wala pa, I’ll take over,” he said.

“Ilagay ko ‘yan sa Office of the President. And I will invite all dito negosyante and I will decide in front of them kung sino. Give me your position papers. I’ll read it, give me about 30 minutes. Then I’ll come back and would tell them now. I will decide,” the President expounded. ###PND

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