Malacañang on Wednesday said it would rather not listen to suggestions of former Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer and Cabinet official Manuel “Mar” Roxas II to lower the prices of rice.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque turned down Roxas’ advice, noting that he had his own fare of criticism for poorly managing disaster relief efforts when Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) struck the country, particularly Tacloban City, Leyte in 2013.
Roxas was secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at that time.
“Hindi ko pa naririnig ang kanyang sinasabi, pero dahil sa kanyang karanasan doon sa Leyte ay mabuti pong manahimik na siyang muli (I haven’t heard what he said yet, but because of his experience in Leyte, perhaps it would be better if he kept quiet),” Roque said in a interview over DZRH.
In another interview, Roque said if Roxas’ suggestions would be similar to how he responded to Yolanda relief operations, he would not find them useful.
“Kung ang gagawin niya ay ibabalik niya iyong ginawa niya sa Yolanda, thank you very much po, hindi na po bale, (If he plans on recalling what he did during Yolanda, thank you very much, it’s not necessary),” Roque said over Radyo Pilipinas.
In a Facebook post dated Sept. 18, Roxas, called for a “time out” on political bickering and asked President Rodrigo R. Duterte to consider his suggestions to solve the country’s rice woes.
Among Roxas’s suggestions are increasing minimum access volume to 1.5 million metric tons, streamlining processes imposed by the National Food Authority (NFA) to allow the private sector to import rice, and asking fast food chains to independently source and import their own needs so they no longer need a share from the national stockpile.
Roxas also urged the Duterte administration to consider adding all farmers to the conditional cash transfer program to ease their plight. Moreover, he suggested repealing the tax reform program, and promoting industrialized farming.
The former DILG secretary, who lost to Duterte in the 2016 presidential elections, has taken a break from politics to write travelogues which he posts on his official Facebook account.