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Congress urged to focus on food, RE, inflation-cooling measures


CONGRESS must concentrate its efforts on measures expanding food production, promoting renewable energy (RE), and the continued opening of the economy in order to keep inflation in check, legislators said.

Northern Samar Rep. Paul R. Daza told BusinessWorld via instant message that legislation should seek to strengthen food security.

“The aim is to attain self-sufficiency and better price regulation, and to decrease our vulnerability to currency fluctuations,” he added. “We also must take climate resilience more seriously.”

Food security should also be evaluated through the lens of climate change, as food abundance can easily disappear in a calamity, he added.

A recent survey by Pulse Asia Research conducted in September found that 66% of respondents consider inflation an issue of national importance to be addressed urgently.

The Department of Agriculture last week said that the damage to agriculture caused by Typhoon Karding (international name: Noru) has increased to P3.12 billion.

Rising fuel prices have affected food production, which can be addressed via measures promoting the use of alternative energy, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers said via Viber.

“In effect, this would cut food production costs and eventually reduce inflation.”

The Department of Justice recently issued a legal opinion declaring that renewable energy investments are not subject to the 60:40 foreign ownership restrictions in the 1987 Constitution.

Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said last week that in response, the department is preparing amendments to Rule 6, Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Renewable Energy law.

Party-list Representative France L. Castro said that the recent survey is a wake-up call for the legislative and executive branches to address inflation.

“This should be reflected in the proposed national budget and it should contain more aid for consumers,” she said in a Viber message. “More funding should also be given to education, health, fisheries and agriculture as well as for teacher and nurse salaries.”

Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman countered via Viber that legislation is not needed to address inflation.

The President must only assure the purposeful implementation of the laws that control inflation, he said.

Mr. Lagman said that laws prescribing price controls and regulating hoarding and cartels should be enforced. The government can also focus on programs like credit facilities and subsidies for farmers, free seed and fertilizer, and the establishment of post-harvest facilities.

Last week, Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda sent draft executive orders to the President which seek to lower energy prices, increase the food supply, and generate new jobs.

Congress is set to resume its session by Nov. 7 and is set to adjourn by Dec. 17. — Kyanna Angela Bulan

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