Duterte says gov't buying social unrest for purchasing farmers' palay
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday the government is "buying social unrest" for his order to the Department of Agriculture to purchase farmers' palay at a higher price.
In a speech in Sarangani province, Duterte said his duty is not to the businessmen.
"I have nothing to do with them (businessmen). I don’t care what happens to them. I care about the people and I said, 'Buy this because you are buying social unrest'," he said.
"That's what I told to the Cabinet. Buy the social unrest that would accompany if there is really something of a --- their products, their produce, their sweat," the President said, noting that some farmers have been heavily indebted before they could harvest their palay.
He said he would rather allow the government lose some money from buying the palay of local farmers than have the latter be influenced by the communist rebels.
"But then allow them a leeway of comfort in life. So who bears the burden? The Filipino people. We lose. Yes, we lose. How many billions? Five, six, seven billions. So what? It’s our money. It’s our money. And we are, I said, buying social unrest. It’s more expensive to deal with, especially if these guys would join the NPA (New People's Army). It’s a rich --- a fertile ground for…," Duterte said.
Duterte again acknowledged that it would be difficult to stop rice importation while it is harvest season.
"They (farmers) can plant and harvest but it is always a contingent one in the Philippines. Now to say that you stop importation just because they’re going to produce the --- projected number. That would be a folly because I said we are the window to the Pacific island," he said.
Duterte has changed his position from his earlier order to suspend importation of rice after talking with Agriculture Secretary William Dar who maintained that the implementation of rice tariffication law would continue. Celerina Monte/DMS