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Flood market with rice — DU30; ‘Price cap’ for rice, chicken — NFA

Updated

PUNCHLINE

By FRED M. LOBO

Fred M. Lobo

Fred M. Lobo

In a bid to check worsening inflation, President Duterte has authorized the “unimpeded” importation of rice.

Boost rice supply and lower prices, Duterte ordered.

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The National Food Authority (NFA) has approved   the imposition  of  a suggested retail price (SRP) for rice and chicken effective the end of this month.

Time to curb the rising cost of food commodities, it said.

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The  President ordered the  liberalization of  rice importation  following a “principled and fierce” discussion on  rising prices at the recent  Cabinet meeting, according to presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

“The President approved unimpeded importation of rice as a measure to reduce inflation,” Roque said.

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Duterte   expressed serious concern  after his economic team finally recognized that food prices were primarily responsible for the recent spike in inflation .

“He wants to flood the market with rice so that even if the price of crude and other oil prices should go up still further, the people will have access to affordable rice,” Roque added.

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 Roque explained that big private companies like San Miguel Corporation can now import rice as much as they can, provided  they pay the proper tariff.

“Anyone who can afford it and will pay tariffs for rice will be allowed to import rice,” he said.

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He said that upon the orders of the President, the National Food Authority (NFA) no longer has the power to accredit who can import as well as to determine how much rice to import.

“There will no longer be restrictions as long as they pay the tariffs and we will use the tariffs to help our Filipino farmers,” he added.

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Rice importation was a “very hot issue” recent Cabinet meeting, Roque said though   denying there was a shouting match among some Cabinet  officials who supported and opposed to the proposal.

Hot as burning rice. Whew!

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Roque said that during the  “ principled and fierce” discussion about the current rice importation system, “there was no maximum and that’s why the decision to liberalize, for all intents and purposes, the importation of rice was really the ultimate means by which to rein in inflation as far as food items are concerned.”

“There was a thorough discussion of the issue and after presenting all the issues, the President decided to fully liberalize the importation of rice,” he said.

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Roque added the government would still push for the rice tariffication bill in Congress “but we will not wait for it” as  import liberalization is urgently needed.

Yes. Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang gutom na kabayo, as the saying goes.

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Meanwhile, the NFA announced it will impose a suggested retail price (SRP) for rice effective the end of this month, in a bid to address the rising cost of the main staple.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) will also  sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA)  imposing  a moving price ceiling on chicken, it added.

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“The price range (for rice) will be determined in a meeting that will be held on October 18 with the stakeholders, millers, traders, and farmers,” said Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, who is  now the chairman of the NFA Council.

The  sale of rice under deceptive commercial brand names will also be banned and rice will  be  properly identified as local  or imported, he said.

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“Sinandomeng, Angelica, Jasmine, and Dinorado are among the common names given to commercial rice sold in the market at prices as high as P55 to P60 per kilo. But the truth is, aside from Dinorado and Jasmine, there is no such thing as ‘Sinandomeng’ or ‘Angelica’ rice varieties,” Pinol said.

May be  “Dinuraan”?

 ***

The DTI and DA  will also  ensure observance of the planned  “price cap” for rice and chicken , which will be updated every three days, Pinol added.

Yes to measures that would check inflation and rising prices.

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