MALACANANG on Tuesday warned unscrupulous traders who are engaged in hoarding rice and other products amid their rising prices.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that authorities will go after them as the government deployed rolling stores to sell rice, garlic and ginger to stabilize their prices.
"The government is exerting all efforts to ensure a stable supply of rice, garlic and ginger. Surveillance is being carried out to discourage hoarding and other practices that could lead to artificial shortage. Rolling stores have been deployed to sell these commodities," he told reporters during a press briefing.
"Kailangang ipatupad ang batas, at kung ano man ang igagawad na kaparusahan, pananagutin natin ang mga nagsasagawa niyan," he added when asked of the government's action against hoarders.
Coloma said the National Price Council, led by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, is closely monitoring the movement of prices of rice, garlic and ginger.
"While there are no suggested retail prices (SRPs) for these commodities, the National Price Coordinating Council may prescribe indicative prices, if needed," he said, adding that SRPs only apply to manufactured goods.
Asked if the Department of Agriculture has met its target to ensure rice sufficiency, he said, "Hindi natamo nang ganap ‘yung rice sufficiency objectives. Pero 'yung level of attainment ay mataas naman dahil lampas sa 90 percent."
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala had targeted Philippine rice self-sufficiency by the end of 2013, but the administration failed. (SDR/Sunnex)