Filipinos assured of cheap rice in ‘4 weeks’
MANILA: Filipinos, especially the poor who have been hurting from the unabated increase in the prices of basic food items, especially rice, would soon get a break in “three to four weeks” with the government flooding the market with cheap imported cereal.
This was announced by the government-run National Food Authority (NFA) which said that with the projected looding of the market, the Filipinos would no longer have to line up for cheap rice, the staple food of the 120 million Filipinos.
“We are waiting for another importation of 230,000 metric tonnes plus our inventory. Maybe by that time, prices will go down. That’s what we are expecting in two weeks to one month from now...that prices would soften,” said Rex Estoperez, the NFA spokesman.
Estoperez explained the NFA has already increased its participation in the market from 13 to 20 per cent, meaning the release of 128,000 bags of rice per day from the previous 76,000 at the lowest price of 45 US cents per kilogramme.
To further help stabilise prices and supply, the government is set to import another 750,000mt of rice this year, according to Estoperez.
Rice, or the lack of it has become a major political issue that led to the downfall of governments in the past.
In a recent survey conducted by private pollster Pulse Asia irst week of September, 63 per cent of the Filipinos said the most pressing concern that the government should resolve is inlation that reached 6.4 per cent in August, considered the highest in nine year.
Inlation saw the unabated increase in the prices of basic items like rice, meat, ish, chicken and vegetables that went beyond the reach of especially of poor Filipinos.
Media also reported earlier that senior citizens and the poor have to wake up early daily so they could join the line in the public markets and buy cheap government imported rice but limited to just ive kilogrammes each.
Malacanang Palace through Harry Roque, the presidential spokesman, assured that controlling inlation is the Duterte administration’s top priority as he said: “We noticed that Filipinos are really concerned with rising prices.”
“We recognise the problem of rising prices but our assurance is President Duterte is not neglecting it,” Roque added in a mix of Filipino and English.