Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS - By Mar­lon Ramos @MRamosINQ

Lo­cal gov­ern­ment units (LGUs) should take an ac­tive role in keep­ing the selling price of rice at an af­ford­able level by mak­ing avail­able fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to farm­ers, Ilo­cos Norte Gov. Imee Mar­cos said on Wed­nes­day.

At the same time, she said LGUs may set up rolling stores to help farm­ers di­rectly sell their pro­duce, sim­i­lar to the Kadiwa mo­bile stores sys­tem im­ple­mented dur­ing the time of her fa­ther, the late dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos.

In­ter­est­ingly, the Kadiwa cen­ters had been blamed for the pro­lif­er­a­tion of rice smug­gling and the rise of car­tels dur­ing the mar­tial law pe­riod.

Rapid de­ploy­ment

“(LGUs) are the front­lin­ers in the war against high prices of ba­sic goods, in­clud­ing rice. We can help keep prices low at the grass­roots level,” Mar­cos said in a state­ment.

“Pop-up stores are the ap­pro­pri­ate de­sign tech­nol­ogy now be­cause these can be rapidly de­ployed and dis­man­tled, and can carry more stocks of goods,” she added.

Ac­cord­ing to Mar­cos, the di­rect in­ter­ven­tion of the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment had been able to bring the price of the sta­ple in Ilo­cos Norte at P27 per kilo, way be­low than the av­er­age price of well-milled rice in most parts of the coun­try.

“For the poor­est of our peo­ple, food ac­counts for al­most 60 per­cent of their in­come. Price in­creases re­ally have an ad­verse ef­fect on their in­come (and) on their cost of liv­ing,” Mar­cos said.

Mar­cos said LGUs can repli­cate ef­forts in her prov­ince and roll out Kadiwa pop-up stores to sell heav­ily dis­counted ba­sic goods, in­clud­ing rice.

“I am a gen­uine Ilo­cano so I re­ally get mad when prices of ba­sic goods spi­ral out of con­trol.

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