President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. Responds to Approval Rating Decline
In a candid media interview during a rice distribution event in Taguig City, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. addressed the significant drop in his approval and trust ratings, stating that it was not surprising given the challenges faced by Filipinos due to the sudden spike in rice prices.
He empathetically acknowledged the hardships people are enduring and expressed his commitment to ensuring affordable food prices.
The Impact of Rising Rice Prices
President Marcos emphasized the unique importance of rice in Filipino culture, remarking,
“It’s different from anything else, any other agricultural product.”
He further noted,
“You can’t blame people. They are really suffering.”
His remarks come in the wake of a Pulse Asia survey conducted from Sept. 10 to 15, revealing a 14 percentage point drop in approval ratings from 85 percent to 71 percent, and a 15 percentage point decline in trust ratings from 80 percent to 65 percent.
Executive Order 39 and Its Impact
The survey coincided with the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 39, which imposed price ceilings of PHP41 per kg on regular-milled rice and PHP45 per kg on well-milled rice to curb rising staple prices. During the interview, President Marcos announced the lifting of EO 39 and vowed to continue assisting affected individuals, including farmers and the underprivileged sector.
A Focus on Food Security
President Marcos asserted his commitment to ensuring food security and stabilizing agricultural commodity prices. He stressed,
“What’s important to me is that we make sure that people have enough to eat and that it is affordable to them.”
Additionally, he highlighted his action to prohibit toll fees and charges on cargo vehicles transporting goods to alleviate distribution costs.
The Battle Against Smugglers and Hoarders
During the rice distribution event in Taguig City, President Marcos reaffirmed his administration’s resolve to combat smuggling and hoarding of agricultural commodities, which have contributed to the unreasonable increase in retail prices.
He revealed that charges had been filed against entities involved in agricultural smuggling, sending a clear message to those harming the nation’s economy.
Stern Penalties for Smuggling and Hoarding
President Marcos cited the Republic Act (RA) 10845, which imposes life imprisonment and substantial fines for smuggling agricultural products. He also referenced RA 7581, which enforces stringent penalties against illegal stockpiling.
In a separate statement, Bureau of Customs Legal Service acting Director William Balayo disclosed that several rice smugglers are facing charges of economic sabotage and Customs Modernization and Tariff Act violations.
Providing Relief to Vulnerable Communities
In a heartening act of support, President Marcos distributed around 1,000 sacks of premium quality rice to beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Taguig City.
This rice distribution stemmed from the 42,180 smuggled premium rice sacks forfeited by the Bureau of Customs – Port of Zamboanga during a raid on a warehouse in Barangay San Jose Gusu, Zamboanga City on Sept. 15.
While President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. navigates the challenges posed by the surging rice prices, his proactive actions to effectively address the issue and decisively combat smuggling and hoarding have taken center stage in his unwavering mission to alleviate the plight of Filipinos.
Consequently, the entire nation watches with keen anticipation as it seeks to stabilize food prices and ensure equitable access to affordable rice for all.