Marcos: Importation is not always the wisest choice

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. spoke at the Asian Summit in Singapore on Wednesday, where he said one of the most important lessons he had to learn as the country moves forward from the pandemic was that importation is not always the wisest choice.

"This is a lesson that we immediately learned. I said, we cannot now continue to depend on importation which is what has happened for the Philippines," Marcos said during the Q & A round after he delivered his address.

Marcos said the realization came during the pandemic when due to the lack of transportation, the connection between the source of food to markets was lost. He added importation was "the easy way out."

"And the pandemic showed us that this was not a wise choice to have made and so we have continued to develop our agricultural sector and the aspiration once again is that we are able to provide sufficient supply of food at prices that people can afford," said Marcos.

The president, who also holds the post of secretary of the Department of Agriculture, has previously allowed the importation of commodities such as sugar as prices soared in 2022.

Rice imports are also expected to arrive as the country grapples with the price of the commodity. To ensure that Filipinos will still be able to afford the grain, the government has imposed a temporary price cap on the staple.

In the session with former Australian Minister for Trade and Milken Institute Asia Fellow Steven Ciobo, the president said the Philippines was also working to improve the value chain to make sure it will be unbroken -- from research and development all the way to the markets.

"There are bits and pieces of it that already exist but they do not work as one system and that’s what we are trying to achieve and we are slowly, slowly making inroads into that problem," he said.