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Food riots in Philippines unlikely–Palace, defense execs

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Security situation ‘very stable,’ — defense chief

By Joel Guinto, Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 12:07:00 04/14/2008

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) The security situation is “very stable” and riots over food are unlikely, Malacañang and defense officials said Monday.

“Any issue that pertains to food and other basic commodities not given adequately to the people would lead to unrest globally. Knowing about this, the President [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] has funded so many programs that can directly address the situation particularly in the problem of rising prices of rice,” Palace Deputy Spokesman Anthony Golez said in a telephone interview Monday.

In a separate statement, deputy spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said that the IMF warning was “a cause for serious concern” although Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro maintained that the security situation was “very stable” and that he saw no threats to national security “whether caused by rice.”

The officials issued these statements after International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss Kahn warned that soaring food prices would lead to war and cause trade imbalance.

Backed by a “strong macroeconomic fundamentals,” Golez said that the Philippines was “far better” than the nations experiencing food crisis such as Haiti, Egypt, and Bangladesh.

“I do not see any food riots in the Philippines. There have never been food riots [in the country],” Golez said.

The defense chief said the food problem was “endemic to the world” and was not confined to the Philippines.

Nonetheless, Fajardo said that caution should be maintained so as not to alarm the people. “Everyone should make an effort to be vigilant and conservative,” she said.

The Food and Agriculture Organization said 37 countries currently faced a food crisis.

But Golez said that programs were in place to address the short-term and long-term problems brought about by the rice situation and cited the President’s order to release P43 billion to various agencies to boost agriculture production.

Golez reiterated that supply of government-subsidized rice was adequate for the need of poor families. For the middle-income and high-income families, he said rice varieties sold at P20 to P30 pesos and above were also available.

With a report from Andreo Calonzo, contributor

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-04-14T07:05:10+00:00UTC04bUTCMon, 14 Apr 2008 07:05:10 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

Posted in Uncategorized

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