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DA to deploy group to inspect warehouses amidst spike in rice prices
DA to deploy group to inspect warehouses amidst spike in rice prices
Nation
DA to deploy group to inspect warehouses amidst spike in rice prices
by Ellicia Del Mundo15 August 2023
Photo courtesy: iStock

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is ready to deploy its Inspectorate and Enforcement Group to inspect rice warehouses amidst the sudden spike in rice prices in the local markets.

In an interview with the media, DA Assistant Secretary and Deputy Spokesman Rex Estoperez said they can request the Inspectorate and Enforcement Group to visit rice millers in their warehouses.

"Huwag na nating idaan sa regulatory or dahas. Pupwede nating pakiusapan iyan at tingnan, visitation ulit at inventory doon sa ating budega. Ayun nga lang, tayo hindi natin pwedeng i-compel iyan [na ilabas ang suplay ng bigas] dahil wala naman tayong regulatory function ng National Food Authority," he added.

Meanwhile, Estoperez said he does not see the necessity of imposing price control that was proposed by agriculture groups, Bantay Bigas and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and AMIHAN.

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The DA Assistant Secretary pointed out that there is no sufficient reason to control the prices of rice.

"We are not in the position na we are in price control. Ang SRP, suggested retail price, ginagamit lang naman kapag nakikita natin na may paggalaw ng presyo na hindi maganda," he said.

"I think for now, parang wala naman tayong emergency sa ngayon," Estoperez added.

He then said that the agriculture department is open for the review and amendment of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law.

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As of August 15, the prices of rice range from P43 to P57 in Blumentritt Market, and P52 to 62 in Kalayaan Makati.

Based on DA's Bantay Presyo released on Monday, local premium rice costs P45 to P56, well-milled at P42 to P53, regular milled at P38 to P52, and special at P50 to P65.

Last week, the DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban announced that the prices of rice are expected to lower as the national government has opened import talks with Vietnam and India.

He said the country can import 300,000 to 500,000 metric tons (MT) of rice after Vietnam exporters said they can sell these at a reduced price.

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