ILOCOS NORTE CASE OFFERED AS A MODEL
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.
“(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.