DTI, re­tail­ers tie up for cheaper rice

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Roy Stephen C. Canivel @roy­canivel_INQ

Heed­ing the Pres­i­dent’s call for more af­ford­able rice, the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try has part­nered with ma­jor su­per­mar­kets to sell the sta­ple at P38 per kilo or lower.

The gov­ern­ment on Fri­day launched a pro­gram that would have re­tail­ers sell rice and sugar at a set price, start­ing it with a tie-up with Robin­sons Su­per­mar­kets.

The pro­gram sought to make rice avail­able for not more than P38 per kilo­gram, ac­cord­ing to an an­nounce­ment by the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI) in Oc­to­ber.

The pro­gram was given the name Presy­ong Rison­able Da­pat, or PRD, tak­ing af­ter the ini­tials of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte.

In a brief state­ment, the DTI said the pro­gram was launched in part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Na­tional Food Au­thor­ity and re­tail­ers like Robin­sons Su­per­mar­kets.

The state­ment did not pro­vide ad­di­tional de­tails.

No wor­ries

Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez said that although rice had been sold a peso higher than the set price dur­ing the pro­gram launch, there was noth­ing to worry about.

He said rice would be made avail­able for less than P39 per kilo­gram.

“That’s what mat­ters,” he said. “Even if it’s P39 pe­sos, it should be fine,” Lopez added.

The an­nounce­ment for the pro­gram was made in Oc­to­ber as con­sumers strug­gled un­der the weight of in­fla­tion, which was partly caused by sup­ply prob­lems in the rice mar­ket.

What could PRD do?

Although in­fla­tion slowed in Novem­ber, it re­mained to be seen what PRD could do to tame price in­creases.

The pro­gram was open to im­porters and re­tail­ers who would di­rectly im­port rice at a set price.

Pure Rice Milling and Pro­cess­ing Corp. im­ported the cheap rice that was sold in Robin­sons, ac­cord­ing to an­other rep­re­sen­ta­tive from DTI.

It was not clear if Robin­sons im­ported sugar di­rectly or if it was from lo­cal sources.

But sugar is now also be­ing sold at a re­tail price of P50 per kilo­gram in Robin­sons Su­per­mar­kets.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

CON­SUMER WEL­FARE JG Sum­mit CEO Lance Gokong­wei, Pure Rice Milling and Pro­cess­ing Corp. pres­i­dent Jojo Soli­man, Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez and Robin­sons Re­tail Hold­ings CEO Robina Gokong­wei-Pe launch the first re­tail space for cheap rice un­der the pro­gram Presy­ong Rison­able Da­pat, or PRD.—

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