Press Releases

Salceda: More RORO ports between food baskets and food markets “will lower inflation and increase farmer incomes”

December 10th, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) is proposing “a denser interzonal nautical highway system, or simply more RORO [roll-on, roll-off] ports” as a crucial intervention to boost farmers’ incomes and lower food transport costs, as the House’s resident economist says that the country is bound for “moderate inflation” over the near-term.

“The new normal when it comes to prices, as the economy reopens, will probably be 4-5 percent food inflation. I can particular see some medium-term supply constraints on corn, which would also then contribute to inflation in meat and poultry supply,” Salceda said.

“Part of what’s wrong isn’t the volume of supply. The problem is also with distribution chains. Yellow corn, for example, is down just 3% year on year, but inflation is at 15% for corn. The distribution chains of yellow corn, particularly from Mindanao to the rest of the country, appears to be suffering from certain chokeholds.”

“There are only three landings for the Nautical Highway System in Mindanao. That’s not dense enough. You probably need another one in Iligan and another one in the Zambasulta area,” Salceda added.

“Bicol is effectively an island”

Salceda also noted that, “in terms of transport, functionally Bicol is an island, because of the vast emptiness between Calauag and Sipocot, so we need alternative points of entry to Bicol.”

“One RORO port just before Bondoc Peninsula, along the Ragay Gulf, another one in Albay’s west coast, probably in Pantao, would effectively create an entirely new Quezon-Bicol nautical highway,” Salceda said.

Salceda emphasized the importance of alternative routes, especially for food and cargo in Bicol, as the region was among the regions with the highest inflation rates this year.

“Along with Cagayan Valley, which itself is partly isolated, Bicol suffered some of the highest inflation rates this year,” Salceda said.

“More RORO ports will bypass our natural geographical challenge as an elongated area,” Salceda said.

“That means lower food prices and fewer opportunities for middlemen to farmers.” Salceda added.

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