Speaker Romualdez applauds farmers for record-breaking rice production

(DA-6 file photo)

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez expressed Sunday his profound admiration for Filipino farmers as they achieved a historic milestone of producing 20 million metric tons of rice in 2023, marking a significant contribution in addressing the country’s rice shortage.

Speaker Romualdez said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. also acknowledged this remarkable achievement, attributing it to a 1.5% increase from the previous year, along with the government’s commitment to providing quality seedlings and fertilizers.

He commended President Marcos and Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel Jr. for their unwavering dedication to bolster agricultural modernization and enhance food production despite the challenges posed by El Niño.

He said this exceptional rice production significantly contributed to raising the combined value of the agriculture and fisheries sectors to P1.763 trillion in 2023, exceeding the P1.757 trillion recorded in 2022.

“This exceptional achievement by our hardworking farmers is truly deserving of praise. They are undeniably the cornerstone and solution to our nation’s rice scarcity,” Speaker Romualdez, the leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives, said.

“This historic rice harvest signifies a glimmer of hope in resolving the rice shortage predicament we faced in the past year,” he added.

President Marcos, a first cousin of the Speaker, proudly announced the significant achievement in rice production for the Philippines last February 2.

This notable 1.5 percent increase compared to the rice production in the corresponding period of 2022 highlights the collective dedication and perseverance of all stakeholders involved.

“Our combined efforts have resulted in an impressive rice production exceeding 20 million metric tons in 2023,” the President declared.

The Chief Executive emphasized that the remarkable rice production played a crucial role in boosting the overall value of production in the agriculture and fisheries sectors to P1.763 trillion in 2023, surpassing the P1.757 trillion recorded in 2022.

It is worth recalling that in September of last year, Speaker Romualdez took the lead in spearheading raids on warehouses in Bulacan province suspected of rice hoarding.

During a meeting with representatives of the Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders’ Movement (PRISM), Speaker Romualdez assured them of the unwavering commitment of the House of Representatives to combat rice hoarders and smugglers, fully supporting the efforts of the Marcos administration to stabilize rice prices.

“If you want to be part of the solution, you are with us, we will help you, we’re going to support you. But if you’re part of the problem, we will root you out,”Speaker Romualdez firmly stated.

The joint raids conducted in 2023 by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the House on rice warehouses in Bulacan signify a firm stance against those who undermine the availability and affordability of this essential staple.

Accompanying the Speaker during the meeting were House Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, Appropriations Committee Chairman and Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Zaldy Co, Deputy Majority Leader Erwin Tulfo, Committee on Agriculture and Food Chair Mark Enverga, and Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. David Suarez.

Speaker Romualdez reiterated that the House “is firmly committed to ensuring a consistent, stable, and affordable supply of essential commodities for Filipinos.”

He further pledged, “We will exercise the chamber’s mandate to safeguard the interests of the public to the fullest extent possible.”