Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol during a market inspection at the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City, September 20, 2018 | UNTV News & Rescue
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Following the official return of the National Food Authority (NFA) under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Secretary Manny Piñol checked on the prices of basic goods, particularly rice, at the Commonwealth Market on Thursday, September 20.
During the inspection, Piñol expressed relief that the traders have complied as agreed on the price of several vegetables such as onions.
Red and white onions now sell at P50 to P60 per kilogram from the previous prices of P100 to P120 per kilogram.
“Hanggang P60 pwede nilang ibenta so mababa parin doon sa ating pinagkasunduan na dapat ibenta nila ng P65,” he said in an exclusive interview with UNTV.
However, he expressed dismay over the price of well-milled rice which still stands at P55 per kilogram.
The Secretary said his priority now as the new chair of the NFA Council is to solve the rice “mess” and lower the price by increasing the volume of NFA rice in the market.
“The only way we could address this problem is to flood the market with NFA rice…Ito lang ang panlaban natin para makontrol natin ang pagmanipula ng mga traders saka mga middlemen ng presyo sa merkado,” he said citing his conversation with President Rodrigo Duterte following him taking over the NFA.
Piñol said he already has the President’s go signal to push through with more importation of rice to full load all NFA rice outlets in the country.
“Sabi ng pangulo punuin ko ang (mga) bodega. Pupunuin ko ang (mga) bodega. P12B pa ang pera ng NFA,” he said.
Secretary Piñol added that aside from increasing the supply, he will also propose a ban on the importation of “fancy rice” next year.
“What is happening is, instead of bringing down the price, iyong imported rice ngayon na fancy rice: Jasmine, long grains, are actually being sold at as much as P58 per kilo. So nasaan ang murang presyo?” he said.
“Next year dapat hindi na pwedeng mag-import ng fancy rice. Hayaan natin ang mga Pilipinong magsasaka na magtanim ng magandang klase ng palay para ang bigas ay mabenta ng maganda. At ang ating imported na bigas dapat pantapal lang sa kakulangan ng ating supply at hindi kailangan fancy rice,” he added. — Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo
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