By Neil Arwin Mercado | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — The government of Poland assured Friday the continued export of Ukrainian wheat to the Philippines amid the rising cost of bread and other commodities triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
This and the issue of food security in the meat sector were among the issues discussed by Poland Chargé d’ Affaires Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz during his courtesy call to President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos in Mandaluyong City.
“We are working hard to assure the export of Ukrainian wheat—that it’s creating a big problem in terms of the increase of the prices of bread and some commodities,” Szczepankiewicz said in a press briefing.
Poland shares a border with Ukraine.
Former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Cielito Habito explained in his latest column published on INQUIRER.net that the Ukraine-Russia war will have an indirect impact on the Philippines, including in the prices of bread.
“With Russia and Ukraine together producing about a quarter of the world’s wheat, this is one commodity whose global flows and prices will be affected by the war-induced disruption of supplies from these two major producers,” said Habito.
“Thus, even though we might readily source from elsewhere the wheat imports lost from Ukraine suppliers, the likely spike in world wheat prices will raise the price of flour, hence bread and other baked goods,” he added.
Filipinos in Poland
Meanwhile, Szczepankiewicz likewise assured that Filipinos and other nationalities can freely cross the Polish-Ukraine border as they seek safety amid Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.
Szczepankiewicz said that more than 70 Filipinos have already crossed the Polish border from Ukraine.
“So we did what we did for the whole world. It means everybody can cross from the Ukraine-Polish border,” Szczepankiewicz said.
“We are not looking for vaccination certificates. No yellow book, no visa. It means that it’s a free passage to everybody,” he assured.
In February, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Poland agreed to take in Filipinos from Ukraine even without a visa.