HOUSE Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Karlo “Ang Probinsyano” Nograles on Thursday assured the public that the latest steps taken by the government would allow the country to weather the problems caused by inflation, following the latest Pulse Asia Survey which revealed that more than six in ten Filipinos considered rising prices one of the top three concerns of the country today.
“The government is aware that rising prices is an urgent problem, our economic managers know what is causing it, and the appropriate steps are being taken to address it,” said the legislator from Davao, who stressed that the economic managers had rightly pointed out inflation was being fueled by surging rice prices––an issue the government is already acting on.
“Malacañang just issued Memorandum Order (MO) No. 28, which directs the National Food Authority (NFA) to immediately release the rice stocks in its warehouses so that this can boost the supply of rice in the market. This is a decisive move that will force rice traders hoarding stocks to release their stocks, thereby protecting consumers from profiteers that are taking advantage of the situation,” explained the lawmaker from Mindanao.
In addition to this, Nograles said, the President’s recent executive order placing supervision of the NFA under the Department of Agriculture (DA) “is already reaping dividends, as the NFA Council is taking creative steps to improve its rice procurement efforts by providing incentives to rice farmers who sell their palay to the NFA.”
These moves plus the arrival of imported rice in the next few weeks, said the solon, should stabilize rice prices on the market, as well as improve the availability of cheaper NFA rice around the country.
“Rice is life; the more expensive rice is, the harder the lives of our countrymen get. The corrolary is also true. Alam ni Presidente yan, kaya tinanggap n’ya ang pagbibitiw ni Jason Aquino bilang hepe ng NFA at may mga bagong direktiba s’ya para pababain ang presyo ng bilihin. (The President knows this, which is why he relieved Jason Aquino as NFA head and he has issued new directives to lower the prices of basic goods.)”
In a poll involving 1,800 respondents conducted by Pulse Asia from September 1 to 7, 31% of those surveyed said that controlling inflation was the nation’s most urgent national concern, 23% said it was the second most urgent concern, while 9% said it was the third most urgent issue.
Among the other directives issued by the Palace, said Nograles, are MO No. 27 and MO No. 26. The former directs the DA, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to adopt measures to ensure the efficient delivery of imported agriculture and fishery products from the ports to the country’s markets.
The DA and the Department of Trade and Industry have been directed to take steps to reduce the gap between farm gate prices and retail prices of agricultural products.
These include the establishment of public outlets and cold storages where producers of agricultural commodities can sell directly to consumers.