By Arjay L. Balinbin
MALACAÑANG ON Wednesday rejected the unsolicited advice of former senator and Cabinet official Manuel A. Roxas II on inflation, saying the Liberal Party stalwart should just “shut up.”
Referring to Mr. Roxas’s handling of the calamity situation in the aftermath of super-typhoon Yolanda in 2013,
Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in a radio interview: “[D]ahil sa kanyang [Mr. Roxas] karanasan doon sa Leyte ay mabuti pong manahimik na siyang muli.” (Because of his [Mr. Roxas’s] experience in Leyte, it would be better for him to just be quiet again.)
“Well, ako po ay nagtataka, dahil si Mar Roxas po ang nagpasimuno na pabayaang maghirap ang mga taga Leyte dahil sa pulitika. Anong nangyari at nagbago na ang pananaw niya sa daigdig? Ang aking mensahe lang po, kung ang gagawin niya ay ibabalik niya iyong ginawa niya sa Yolanda, thank you very much po, hindi na po bale,” he also said.
(Well, I am wondering because it was Mar Roxas who made the people of Leyte suffer because of politics. What happened that his world view has changed? My message for him, if his plan is to repeat what he did during Yolanda, thank you very much, never mind.)
In a social media post on Tuesday, Mr. Roxas said: “Dear President Duterte: Matindi ang problema ng P50+/kg na bigas, at magiging mas matindi pa ito dahil sa damage ni Ompong. Magkaiba paningin natin sa maraming bagay pero sa tingin ko lahat ng Pilipino gustong malutas ang problemang ito. Kaya time out muna.
(Dear President Duterte: We have a serious problem with P50+/kg of rice, and this will worsen because of the damage from [super-typhoon] Ompong. We disagree on many things, but I think all Filipinos want to solve this problem. So time out first.)
Mr. Roxas said “only a massive and immediate additional supply of rice can bring down prices to affordable levels,” adding that the President may “instruct that Minimum Access Volume (MAV) be increased to 1.5 million metric tons,” from the current 805,000 metric tons.
He also proposed that “any and all in the private sector” should be “allowed to import rice” by “remov(ing) the usual bs (bullshit) imposed by the NFA (National Food Authority).”
“Pro actively ask Jollibee, McDo, Mang Inasal, SM, grocery, supermarket chains, and all large users to independently source and import their own needs… In the short term, this will provide a definite physical buffer, put a definite time frame for when supply tightness will end, induce hoarders to release their stocks…” he added.
He also said the government can “ease the farmers plight” by adding all farmer families to the CCT (Conditional Cash Transfer) program.”
In the medium term, Mr. Roxas said Mr. Duterte may “repeal TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) as it pertains to fuel and other basic commodities” and “promote industrialized farming so we increase capital investment (capex, technology, economies of scale) in agriculture.”