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Binay camp: PNoy's rice sufficiency program a failure

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday claimed that the administration's rice self-sufficiency program is a failure.

Binay's spokesperson Joey Salgado contradicted the claims Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

"Secretary Alcala claims the Philippines has been 96 percent rice self-sufficient starting in 2010. What he fails to mention is that the Philippines imported 1.787 MMT (million metric tons) of rice last year, the largest in the last five years. In 2014, we also imported 1.7 MMT," Salgado said in a statement.

Salgado recalled that in 2011, Alcala said that from being the top importer, the Philippines will be a top exporter in four years.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that rice production in 2015 only reached 18.86 MMT which is 1.22 MMT short of the 20.08 MMT target. It was also o.6 percent lower than the 18.97 MMT output in 2014.

Salgado noted that the poorest Filipinos belong to the agriculture sector despite the Philippines being an agricultural country.

"Secretary Alcala’s thinking that our farmers who are starving and wallowing in poverty are ‘sexy’ is just another example of the insensitivity of this administration, not unlike their presidential candidate saying that the worsening traffic in Metro Manila was ‘a sign of progress," Salgado said.

In 2013, President Benigno Aquino III declared the National Year of Rice to intensify the campaign in achieving self-sufficiency.

However, international organizations and agriculture economists warned that the goal is unattainable and even imprudent.

RELATED: Cases rise against Noy's rice sufficiency dream

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO ALCALA

ALCALA

JOEY SALGADO

METRO MANILA

NATIONAL YEAR OF RICE

PHILIPPINE STATISTICS AUTHORITY

PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO

RICE

SALGADO

SECRETARY ALCALA

VICE PRESIDENT JEJOMAR BINAY

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