Palace warns rice hoarders as Senate plans inquiry-A A +A
Friday, September 6, 2013
(UPDATED) Malacanang warned Friday rice traders who have been engaged in hoarding.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in a news briefing said the National Food Authority (NFA) is now looking into those establishments which were allegedly involved in the illegal activity.
"The NFA is looking into some (establishments allegedly involved in hoarding of rice)...we don't want to give details so that they won't get any tip," she said.
Prices of rice have continued to increase despite the Department of Agriculture's assurance that there is enough supply in the country.
Some unscrupulous traders were allegedly involved in the hoarding of rice.
Valte acknowledged that there were some businessmen who were taking advantage of the situation.
But she said that this was the reason why the government is now selling NFA rice, which has almost the same quality as that of the types of rice in the market but is much cheaper.
Quoting Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Valte also said that the lean season would soon be over and the DA expects the prices of rice to stabilize.
Questions on the actual state of rice supply in the country pushed Senator Cynthia Villar, chairman of the agriculture committee, to hold an inquiry "anytime next week."
She said the inquiry would determine the factors behind the alarming hike in the cost of rice, and how can this be avoided. She cited the need to review the government's existing policies and programs on rice sufficiency.
"In the process, we will also look into the smuggling of rice and onions, and the reported hoarding of rice by some groups," said Villar.
The probe is in response to the Senate Resolution 233 filed by Senator Loren Legarda, who thinks the increase in the price of rice can imply either an insufficient supply in the market or the presence of manipulative forces adversely affecting its price. (SDR/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)