Malacañang on Wednesday told former Interior secretary Manuel Roxas to shut up and let the administration do its job after the former opposition senator asked President Rodrigo Duterte to consider his suggestions to lower rice prices.
“I haven’t heard what he [Roxas] said, but I think, with his experience in Leyte before, it will be better if he will just keep quiet,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Wednesday morning in a radio interview with DZRH.
The Palace official brought up Roxas’ performance, a former Department of Interior and Local Government secretary, in the rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of super typhoon “Yolanda.”
“He does not need to add to the noises now. We all know what he did in ‘Yolanda.’ He said, ‘no one is in charge.’ That’s not what the country needs in a time of need, “ said Roque. “We should let the process of giving assistance to the public proceed in times like this.”
In another radio interview, Roque also criticized Roxas for his “negligence” as a government official.
“I am really wondering because Mar Roxas let the people in Leyte suffer because of politics. What happened to him and what changed his perception of the world?” said Roque.
“My only message is if he would only do the things he did during ‘Yolanda,’ thank you very much, but we don’t need it,” he added.
On Tuesday, Roxas took to Facebook and offered Duterte some recommendations to counter the problem of high rice prices and the damage brought by ‘Ompong.’
“We may have a different opinion on many things, but I think all the Filipinos want to solve the problem. Timeout first,” said Roxas, pleading to the President to “please consider” his suggestion.
“Only a massive and immediate additional supply of rice can bring down prices to affordable levels,” he said.
“Instruct that Minimum Access Volume to be increased to 1.5 million metric tons. Remove the usual ‘BS’ imposed by NFA so as to allow any and all in the private sector to import rice,” he added.
Roxas also suggested that the government proactively ask several fast-food chains in the country, and supermarkets, to “independently source and import their own needs for them not to share with the national stockpile.
According to Roxas, his possible solutions will provide a definite physical buffer, put a definite timeframe for when the tight supply will end, and induce hoarders to release their stocks.
Roxas also urged the government to include farmer families in the Conditional Cash Transfer program, repeal the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law, and promote industrialized farming to increase capital investment in agriculture.