Calderon explained that the crisis is actually an “effect of a more deepening poverty problem.” He said that most of the poor have nothing else or very little to eat except rice. “Walang maiulam, damihan ang kanin.” (No viand to eat, eat more rice.)
He cited Bataan as an example. Bataan has a four percent net surplus of rice. The Central Luzon region is a net exporter of rice, providing 18 percent of the country’s total supply.
Calderon disclosed that even so, the poor in Bataan would line up to buy rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) and many go hungry.
Calderon said, “Bataan and Central Luzon are a microcosm of Philippine society. Not everyone can afford to buy rice… As long as there is a deepening poverty problem, even if there is enough food supply, the poor cannot avail of rice.”
In the same forum, Fines Cosico, NFA grains operations officer and AGHAM project officer, agreed that there was no rural development and the poverty level is high in farming communities.