Bataan solon pushes for ‘Taas Noo Filipino’ label

ORANI, Bataan– The Philippines has the notorious distinction of being among the world’s top rice producers and being among the world’s top rice importers. As of 2017, it was 8thlargest rice producer, yet as of February 2019 it was also the 2ndlargest rice importer.

This oddity, according to Bataan 1stDistrict Representative Geraldine B. Roman, is explained by the fact that the local rice production has been unable to meet the increasing local demand for rice and the inevitable result is the competition between local and imported rice. 

The recent implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law has liberalized rice imports and exacerbated competition. As a result, rice prices are dropping to the detriment of local farmers, she added.   

This prompted Congresswoman Roman to file the House Bill 4625 called “The Filipino Farmers First Act” or the law mandating all retailers to properly label the provenance that they sell and other produce. 

“If it comes from the Philippines, it will be labeled “Taas Noo Filipino” to identify kung saan galing yung produkto na ibinibenta nila,” Roman explained. 

The bill also aims to encourage Filipino consumers to patronize their own products and by this way help the Filipino farmers and educate the public by patronizing Filipino farmers produce thereby awakening “our sense of patriotism and solidarity.”

“The truth of the matter is, mas mura ang imported na bigas. But, kung sa sarap lang ang pag- uusapan, mas masarap ang Filipino rice. Ang imported na bigas, I’ve tried it, it absorbs water so much pero madaling matuyo, matigas and madaling mapanis. Pero ang local rice makunat, may body siya sa sarili niya,” Roman explained.  

In relation to this, Congresswoman Roman also filed House Bill/Resolution no. HB05071 or “An Act Mandating the National Food Authority (NFA) to Establish Rice Drying Facilities and Appropriating Funds Therefor.” It was filed last October 2, 2019 pending for first reading. 

“The problem in our country is that our farmers do not have drying facilities, most of them sa kalsada lang nagpapatuyo ng mga palay nila so can you imagine kapag tag-ulan,” Roman lamented.  

With this proposed law, she added, the NFA will be mandated to purchase drying facilities and install it in their provincial offices. Minimal fees will be charged to the farmers to cover the cost of maintenance of the machines, etc.  

The present set-up, according to Roman, the Department of Agriculture is the agency that purchase the drying facilities but “were not spread out evenly” to all the farmers in the country.

“Every Filipino must patronize our own product. I’m looking for solutions para mabili yung mga palay at bigas na mula sa ating mga farmers,” Roman assured. 

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