Gov’t mulls targeted subsidy to agri sector – NEDA exec


MANILA: An official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Saturday said the government is looking into providing targeted subsidy to the agricultural sector.

Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said that for now, NEDA is planning financial assistance to farmers as it cannot provide subsidy across the board yet.

‘Ito nga po iyong inaano namin na kailangang mayroon tayong targeted din na subsidy — puwedeng targeted subsidy sa mga farmers. Kaya ang naging subsidy natin is in terms of iyong sa production nila, iyong fuel subsidy kasi doon talaga sila tinamaan dito eh, sa fuel, sa fertilizer. Tapos iyon ding assistance para sa mechanization (We really need a subsidy targeted at farmers. This subsidy is meant for their production, like fuel subsidy because that is where they need it most, for fuel and fertilizer),’ she said at the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

Aside from farmers, she said the government is considering targeting consumers in the lower income classes through food stamps
from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“Pero iyon nga, dapat targeted kasi hindi naman natin kakayanin na, you know, subsidized na kumbaga across the board, ganito lang kababa dapat iyong presyo (But providing food subsidy will only be targeted because we cannot give subsidy across the board),’ Edillon said.

She also noted the decrease in unemployment, which went down to 3.1 percent in December 2023 compared to 4.3 percent in the same month in 2022.

‘And another good result is that the biggest job creation was in the industry sector — almost 900,000 jobs in the industry sector, followed by agriculture at 500,000, and then services at 100,000. So, this is exactly the kind of profile that we want, that many will be coming from the industry sector,’ she said.

Within the industry sectors, construction and manufacturing sectors contributed the most to the number of jobs, she added.

She also noted the improved Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) at 66.6 percent or about 52.13 million Filipin
os aged 15 and above who were either employed or unemployed.

The headline inflation in January likewise further eased to 2.8 percent, its lowest level since October 2020.

‘Talaga pong pababa ang ating trend. And actually, almost all sectors po nag-decline iyong inflation natin. Ang isa lang medyo sticky iyong rice and it’s really because ang taas ng bilihan ng palay noong fourth quarter of last year so you would expect also na kapag iyong bigas, magiging mataas din (There is a downward trend. Inflation went down in almost all sectors. The only exception is for rice. And that is because the price of unhusked rice was really high during the fourth quarter of last year so it drove up rice price in the market),” Edillon said.

“That is what we are seeing. Overall food inflation, it actually went down, so that is another piece of good news, except for the rice again,’ she added

Source: Philippines News Agency