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Bongbong Marcos' P20-Per-Kilo Rice Promise Possible by Next Year, Says DAR

Under the proposed Programang Benteng Bigas sa Mamamayan or PBMM.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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One of president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s biggest campaign promises was to bring down the price of rice from P39 per kilo to P20. Of course, this was originally met with criticism from agricultural advocacy groups and stakeholders, considering the increasing costs of production and shipment.

But is it really impossible?

Not according to Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Bernie Cruz, who said in a press briefing on Monday, June 6, that Marcos Jr.'s vow might even come to fruition as early as the first quarter of 2023.

"Hopefully po, ma-discuss namin with the president-elect. Hindi lang 'yung DAR, pati po ang national agencies, kailangan magtulong-tulong kasama 'yung local government," he said. "First quarter next year, baka makita na po natin."

In the next six months, the DAR hopes to have a discussion with the president-elect about its proposal. The agency is appealing to the incoming administration to consider its Programang Benteng Bigas sa Mamamayan (PBBM) initiative.

For this program, small farm lots will be consolidated to pave the way for the creation of "megafarms." Megafarms are supposedly a cluster of contiguous farms that should produce greater volumes of rice production and, in turn, would cut layers of trading.

Under the proposed measures, infrastructure facilities will be provided support production, processing, marketing, product distribution stations, and more.

Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Atty. David Erro also agreed with Cruz's sentiments.

"Sa Programang Benteng Bigas Para sa Mamamayan o ang PBBM... achievable 'yung sinasabi ng ating president-elect Bongbong Marcos na P20 a kilo. Concentration po nito ang malalaking ektarya ng lupain, ifu-fully mechanize tapos lahat ng available technology papasok po diyan," he added. 

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The DAR also mentioned that the PBMM would start by mechanizing 150,000 hectares of land, which will be fully covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. 

"So magkakaroon ng mass production so that ang ultimate goal niya ay ang ma-satisfy ang ating food security o food self-sufficiency at tsaka 'yung income ng mga farms ay tumaas," explained Erro.

The initial automation should produce 23 million cavans of rice and benefit roughly 100,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries and farmers. Beneficiaries could earn about P76,000 a year or P6,000 a month, as well.

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Bryle B. Suralta
Assistant Section Editor
Bryle B. Suralta is the Assistant Section Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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