President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday allayed concerns of a rice shortage, affirming that the Philippines had an ample rice stock.

In an interview with reporters, the president ruled out the likelihood of a rice crisis and assured Filipinos that typhoons and the El Niño could only “thin out” the country’s rice supply.

“Basta’t all things remain equal, we have enough supply and that we’ll be able to keep the prices stable,” he said.

“So we are watching and waiting to see what the production levels are going to be after the last planting season before the harvest, for the upcoming harvest and what will be…Basta’t nag-harvest na tayo. Pagka umani na tayo, wala ng problema sa supply. It’s precisely as you mentioned. It is in the dry part where we are waiting for the last planting to be harvested,” he added.

Marcos Jr., the country’s agriculture chief, said the country needed to increase the buffer stock of the National Food Authority (NFA).

“The problem that we are facing now is because of the recent past; medyo minamalas tayo sa bagyo, tapos kakadaan lang natin ng lockdown, pandemic…nagamit nang husto ‘yung buffer stock ng NFA,” he said.

With these in mind, the president said the Philippines could still consider importing agricultural goods in the future.

“So ‘yun ang tinitingnan natin. We may have to import. So that’s — we’re keeping that option open,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro