With government set to impose suggested retail prices for rice and chicken soon, Senate Trade and Commerce Committee Chair Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III is urging authorities to come down hard on predatory merchants who will continue to sell overpriced goods.

The National Food Authority (NFA) Council, along with the departments of agriculture, trade and industry, have agreed to implement price control amid surges in the prices of oil and other basic commodities.

Agriculture Secretary and NFA Council head Emmanuel Piñol meanwhile said that in three weeks’ time, regular milled-rice would be sold at P39 per kilo, well-milled rice at P42 per kilo, and long grain or premium rice at P44 per kilo.

“We hope that our authorities will crack down on unscrupulous traders who will continue to prey on consumers despite the implementation of the SRP (suggested retail price),” said Pimentel, who said that the enforcement of the SRP is a necessary step to give Filipino families a reprieve from the high cost of basic goods.

“With rice becoming more unaffordable for ordinary Filipino families, instituting an SRP provides a stopgap measure that will help rein in the prices of basic goods,” said the legislator from Mindanao.

“With rice becoming more unaffordable for ordinary Filipino families, instituting an SRP provides a stopgap measure that will help rein in the prices of basic goods.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported in its regular update on palay, rice and corn prices, that the wholesale price of regular-milled rice has increased to P43.12 per kilo. Its average retail price has also increased to P45.83 per kilo.

Meanwhile, the average wholesale price of well-milled rice rose to P46.06 per kilo in the last week of September. Its average retail price has also increased to P49.37 per kilo.

Pimentel also expressed hope that the effect of other measures introduced by government to address inflation would be felt soon, while batting for the passage of longer-term measures like the Rice Tarrification Bill, which the President had certified as urgent.

“We have to understand that all these directives from the Executive are merely short-term solutions. We have to work on putting in place mechanisms and reforms in our rice and agricultural sectors so that our people can have food security for the years to come,” added Pimentel.

“The key is to ensure that the country invests long-term into improving the productivity of the agricultural sector, and we have taken the first steps already, by passing a free irrigation law and pouring our resources into Build-Build-Build. Free irrigation will help drive down the costs of production of rice and other agricultural products, while better farm-to-market roads will have a positive impact on transportation costs. These are just some of the long-term steps to keep inflation within reasonable levels.”

“The key is to ensure that the country invests long-term into improving the productivity of the agricultural sector, and we have taken the first steps already, by passing a free irrigation law and pouring our resources into Build-Build-Build.”

Republic Act 10969 or the Free Irrigation Service Act was passed during the term of Pimentel as Senate President. Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2018, farmers covered by the law are exempt from paying irrigation service fees for water derived from national and communal irrigation systems.

 

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