Press Release
October 9, 2023

Bong Go calls for more government interventions to protect poor Filipinos amid rising prices

In an interview on Thursday, October 5, during the World Teachers' Day celebration in Antipolo City, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go stressed the government's responsibility to keep rice and other commodities affordable for vulnerable communities amid rising inflation and after it has decided to lift the temporary price cap on rice.

"Ibig sabihin po ng lifting ng temporary price ceiling para sa bigas kahapon ay base po 'yan siguro sa positive indicators na nakikita ng gobyerno. Pinag-aaralan nila nang mabuti," Go said when asked about the timeliness of lifting the price cap on rice.

He went on to stress the importance of rice as a staple food in the Filipino diet, stating, "Importante talaga ang bigas. Halos lahat ng Pilipino, tayo kumakain tayo ng kanin..."

The senator also emphasized the role of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the executive department in monitoring prices of commodities and protecting Filipinos from the adverse effects of inflation.

"Pero sabi ko nga, trabaho po ng DTI, trabaho po ng executive department na tingnan nang mabuti ang price ceiling, hindi tumaas at maging affordable po ang presyo ng bigas," he added.

Go has already earlier appealed to the concerned agencies of government, particularly DTI, to address rising prices of commodities, mitigate the impact of inflation, and provide more livelihood opportunities for the poor to help them recover from the pandemic and other recent crises.

"Trabaho po ng DTI na bantayan rin ang mga presyo ng bilihin lalo na ngayon na lumalala ang inflation. Bagamat hindi natin kontrolado ang global factors na nagdudulot nito, sikapin dapat ng gobyerno na pagaanin ang hirap na dinadala ng ating mga kababayang pinakanangangailangan," he earlier appealed.

Go was adamant about the need for immediate government intervention to help poor Filipinos overcome poverty and avoid hunger. He stressed that there are existing government programs that should be maximized to help the poor especially under the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

"Dapat government intervention kaagad. Kung kailangan bigyan ng ayuda, bigyan n'yo po ng ayuda. Gamitin n'yo po ang pera ng gobyerno. Nandiriyan po ang pera ng gobyerno, aprubado po 'yan," he said.

Go expressed his full support for these programs aimed at assisting impoverished Filipinos, saying, "I am here to support; full support po ako basta sa programang makakatulong sa mahihirap nating kababayan, sa mga kababayan nating isang kahig, isang tuka."

"Unahin po natin ang mahihirap nating kababayan. Dapat po tutukan natin ang inflation sa ngayon. 'Yan talaga ang pinakaproblema natin, 'yung tumataas na presyo ng bilihin," added Go.

He also emphasized that the DSWD should utilize their funds effectively and equitably, without being selective in providing aid. The senator particularly called for government intervention and support for farmers through programs like Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation.

"Nananawagan po ako sa DSWD nandiyan naman ang pera, itulong n'yo sa mahihirap. Don't be selective," Go urged.

The AICS program, which Go advocated for during the term of former president Rodrigo Duterte, offers various forms of aid, including medical, burial, transportation, education, food, and financial assistance to impoverished families that have been assessed and validated by the DSWD.

Go emphasized that during the previous administration, immediate government intervention was a priority to protect vulnerable populations.

The lifting of the temporary rice price cap was initiated on October 4, following a recommendation from the Department of Agriculture (DA). DA cited decreasing market prices and an expected increase in rice supply as the main reasons behind the recommendation.

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