President Marcos Jr. Takes Action to Lower Prices and Improve Agricultural Trade

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To achieve these objectives, the administrative order includes several key measures. Firstly, it calls for the establishment of a task force within the Department of Agriculture that will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of importation policies. This task force will work closely with other government agencies, such as the Bureau of Customs and the National Food Authority, to ensure that importation procedures are efficient and effective.
Additionally, the administrative order emphasizes the need for coordination between the national and local government units in addressing the rising agricultural prices. It encourages local government units to implement programs and initiatives that promote agricultural productivity and reduce post-harvest losses. This includes providing support to farmers, such as access to credit and technical assistance, as well as investing in infrastructure projects that improve transportation and storage facilities.
Furthermore, the administrative order recognizes the importance of research and development in enhancing agricultural productivity. It calls for the Department of Agriculture to allocate resources for research and development activities that focus on improving crop yields, developing new farming technologies, and promoting sustainable farming practices. By investing in research and development, the government aims to boost the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and ensure long-term food security.
In addition to these measures, President Marcos Jr. also emphasizes the importance of promoting fair trade practices in the agricultural sector. The administrative order encourages the Department of Agriculture to work closely with relevant stakeholders, such as farmers’ organizations and consumer groups, to promote transparency and fair pricing in the supply chain. This includes monitoring and addressing any instances of price manipulation or unfair trading practices that may contribute to the increase in agricultural prices.
Overall, President Marcos Jr.’s directive through Administrative Order 20 demonstrates his commitment to addressing the rising agricultural prices in the country. By streamlining importation procedures, promoting local production, and investing in research and development, the government aims to ensure food security, stabilize prices, and improve the overall competitiveness of the agricultural sector. With these measures in place, it is hoped that the country can overcome the challenges posed by rising agricultural prices and ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for its farmers and consumers alike. To further enhance trade and remove non-tariff barriers, the government is also focusing on streamlining regulations and reducing bureaucratic red tape. This will involve a comprehensive review of existing import licensing systems to identify areas of improvement and eliminate unnecessary requirements. The aim is to simplify procedures for licensing importers, making it easier for them to bring in goods from abroad.
In addition to simplifying importation procedures, the government is also working on reducing processing times for importation applications. Currently, the lengthy process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals can lead to delays and hinder trade. By expediting the processing of importation applications, the government hopes to facilitate faster trade transactions and improve the overall efficiency of the importation process.
To further incentivize trade, licensed traders will be exempted from certain registration requirements. This will not only reduce the burden on importers but also encourage more businesses to engage in international trade. By removing unnecessary registration requirements, the government aims to create a more business-friendly environment that fosters trade and economic growth.
Moreover, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has been directed to facilitate the importation of specific agricultural products beyond the authorized minimum access volume. This means that importers will have more flexibility in bringing in these products, leading to increased availability in the market. This move is particularly important for products that are in high demand or are essential for the country’s food security.
To further encourage trade, the government is also planning to reduce or remove administrative fees related to importation. These fees can often add significant costs to importers and act as a deterrent to trade. By reducing or eliminating these fees, the government aims to make trade more affordable and attractive for businesses. This will not only benefit importers but also contribute to the overall growth of the economy.
In order to effectively implement these measures, the Department of Agriculture will be working closely with other relevant agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Finance. This coordination is crucial to ensure a comprehensive and integrated approach to removing non-tariff barriers and enhancing trade.
Overall, by simplifying procedures, reducing processing times, exempting licensed traders from certain requirements, facilitating importation, and reducing administrative fees, the government aims to create a more favorable environment for trade. These measures will not only benefit importers and businesses but also contribute to the overall economic growth and development of the country. To further improve logistics and enforcement, the DA will also collaborate with key stakeholders in the private sector such as farmers’ cooperatives, agricultural associations, and transport and logistics companies. This partnership will aim to streamline the supply chain process and ensure the efficient distribution of agricultural products to the market.
In addition to these partnerships, the DA will invest in technology and infrastructure to enhance logistics capabilities. This includes the development of cold storage facilities, transportation hubs, and tracking systems to monitor the movement of goods. By leveraging technology, the DA can effectively manage the storage and transportation of agricultural products, reducing spoilage and ensuring their freshness upon arrival in the market.
Furthermore, the DA will implement stricter enforcement mechanisms to curb any attempts at price manipulation or hoarding. This will involve conducting regular inspections of warehouses, markets, and distribution centers to ensure compliance with the circular’s provisions. The surveillance team, led by the DA, will also collaborate with law enforcement agencies to investigate any instances of market manipulation or unfair trade practices.
To maintain transparency and accountability, the DA, along with other relevant government agencies, will submit quarterly reports on the status of the administrative order’s implementation. These reports will detail the progress made in enforcing the circular’s provisions, as well as any challenges encountered and the corresponding actions taken to address them. This information will be shared with the president through the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook (IAC-IMO), allowing for a comprehensive assessment of the measures’ effectiveness and the identification of any necessary adjustments.
The continuous monitoring and evaluation of the circular’s implementation will enable the DA to make data-driven decisions and adapt its strategies accordingly. By working collaboratively with various stakeholders and employing a multi-faceted approach, the DA aims to improve logistics and enforcement in the agricultural sector, ensuring fair and stable prices for consumers and a sustainable market for farmers.

Local Perspective and Impact

Albay Representative Joey Salceda has expressed support for Administrative Order 20, highlighting its potential to lower food prices in the Philippines. Salceda points out that the country has one of the highest levels of protection for domestic goods, with protection levels accounting for around 27% of farm receipts across all agricultural goods. These high levels of trade protection contribute to the expensive cost of food in the country.
Salceda believes that such protection levels do not directly benefit the agricultural sectors they are meant to protect. Instead, they incentivize those who are willing to disregard the law or monopolize domestic trade. By implementing the measures outlined in Administrative Order 20, the Philippines can open up sugar imports to direct industrial users, potentially revitalizing the food manufacturing sector. Salceda also notes that the order will address the high levels of non-tariff protection for fish, which contributes to inflated prices.
Furthermore, Salceda emphasizes the importance of addressing the impact of high food prices on the local population. The rising cost of food has a significant impact on the daily lives of Filipinos, especially those in lower-income brackets. Many families struggle to afford basic necessities, and the high cost of food only exacerbates their financial burdens.
In addition, the expensive cost of food also affects the overall economy of the Philippines. When food prices are high, consumers have less disposable income to spend on other goods and services. This, in turn, hampers economic growth and reduces overall consumer confidence. By addressing the issue of high food prices, the government aims to stimulate economic growth and improve the well-being of its citizens.
In conclusion, President Marcos Jr.’s directive to remove non-tariff barriers in the agricultural sector demonstrates a commitment to addressing rising domestic prices and ensuring food security in the Philippines. By streamlining administrative procedures, simplifying importation requirements, and improving logistics and enforcement, the government aims to create a more transparent and efficient trade environment. These measures, if implemented effectively, have the potential to lower food prices and stimulate economic growth in the country. It is crucial for the government to work closely with local stakeholders, such as farmers and food manufacturers, to ensure that the implementation of Administrative Order 20 is beneficial for all parties involved. By fostering collaboration and open communication, the government can create a sustainable and inclusive solution to the issue of high food prices in the Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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