Inspections to deter rice hoarding pushed

RICE traders may have to open their warehouses to inspectors from the City Price Coordinating Council (CPCC) to answer reports of rice hoarding, a Cagayan de Oro City councilor said.

Councilor George Goking said he ask the City Council to convene rice retailers in the city this Friday to shed light on reports of rice hoarding purposely done to manipulate prices of the staple food.

In a visit to the National Food Authority- Northern Mindanao Office, Goking said the CPCC saw enough rice supply for the city and said reports of a shortage may be due to alleged hoarding.

"There is no shortage, we really did an inspection to look into these allegations. But now that we saw there is no shortage and hoarding in their part, we will now call on the sellers maybe they are the ones holding the rice supply," Goking said.

The CPCC is set to conduct surprise inspections to rice retailers to put the hoarding issue to rest.

The move is also in response to Senator Nancy Binay's statement that the NFA rice shortage is real and is raising prices of the staple food.

"We want to make sure we have enough and affordable rice especially with the threat of rising prices because of the TRAIN law," Goking said.

But CPCC chairman lawyer Edgardo Uy meanwhile clarified that while basic price commodities are expected to shoot up with the new tax reform law, Cagayan de Oro is still exempted as the price freeze is still in effect.

However, the price freeze in the city is only until February 20. The price freeze was immediately implemented after the city was devastated by Typhoon Vinta last December.

The prevailing price for rice is still at P45 to P50 per kilo, depending on its quality, but with the tax reform, a P2 to P3 per kilo increase could be noted.

"For now, we are still at normal prices, we haven't monitored major price increase of basic commodities so far," Uy added.
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