Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agriculture Modernization Francis Pangilinan has ordered the National Food Authority to flood the market with NFA rice to deter unjust price increases.
He directed the NFA to double the daily release of the staple from 12,500 bags to 25,800 bags. Regular milled rice is sold for P27 per kilo while the well-milled rice costs P32 per kilo. NFA rice is cheaper compared to commercial rice, which has shot up to an average of P45 per kilo.
“We also tasked NFA personnel to heighten monitoring of accredited retailers to ensure correct pricing of our rice,” Pangilinan said, warning that the licenses of traders caught overpricing and hoarding NFA rice will be revoked.
“In fact, we have already suspended last week several retailers in Cebu who were caught overpricing the NFA rice,” he added, referring to a province in central Philippines.
Special monitoring teams will be deployed in various markets in Metro Manila and in the provinces to ensure that retailers will follow NFA regulations.
The former senator urged the public to report unscrupulous traders and retailers through the NFA Hotline 920-1123/4533990 local 3213 and 3214 or through NFA Text Hotline 09064363133.
Malacañang on Sunday also gave assurances that there is enough supply of rice.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the current 2.4 million metric tons in NFA warehouses will last until the next harvest season.
He stressed that there is no reason for prices of the staple to go up.
Coloma said in a radio interview that the country will be importing 800,000 metric tons of rice to boost supply.
“Ang update mula sa NFA: Nai-deliver at natanggap na ang 193,000 metric tons bago magtapos ang Hunyo. May karagdagang delivery na 274,250 metric tons at sa buwan ng Agosto ay ang balanseng 332,350 metric tons. Nagbigay ng abiso ang NFA sa mga supplier na tingnan ang posibilidad na mapabilis o mapaaga ang delivery [An update from the NFA said 193,000 metric tons will be delivered before the month ends. There will be an additional delivery of 274,250 metric tons and in August, the balance of 332,350 metric tons will arrive. The NFA has asked suppliers to speed up the delivery],” he added.
Coloma noted that during the meeting of the National Price Coordinating Council on June 18, stakeholders came up with a program called “Dagdag Alokasyon, Dagdag Outlet, Dagdag-Bantay, at Walang Pagtataas ng Presyo” or DDDW.
“Hindi po pinapabayaan ng pamahalaan ang sitwasyon. At katulad po ng ating sinabi, tinututukan po ito nang husto at tinitiyak na walang magsasamantala sa ating mga kababayan [The government is not being neglectful. We are monitoring the situation and we will make sure that no one will take advantage of consumers],” he said.