The low inflation that we have been seeing is due to low rice prices. Thats a fact we cannot ignore.
This is because the staple food constitutes about 50% of the food cost of majority of Filipinos, especially the 25 million who fall below the poverty line.
The average eight pesos saved per kilo translates to a 48 peso per week savings or almost 200 pesos a month from the food budget.
For you and me this many sound negligible, but for poor families, this is significant, especially if the family buys the cheaper varieties that have reduced by 13 pesos. In that case, the savings can go as high as 300 pesos.
We cannot but accept that imported rice from vietnam is cheaper than our local rice by about 20 pesos per kilo. This therefore means that by not importing such varieties, we can protect the 2.1 million farmers but deprive the 25 million mainly non farming poor families from affordable rice.
Thus, any call to suspend or repeal the Rice Tarrification law must guarantee that rice prices will stay low, and remain low for the next five years. Low inflation will depend on it.
Thats food for our thought.