‘Moving SRPs’ on rice a welcome move
The government will impose a “moving suggested retail price” (SRP) and “labeling” on rice before October ends.
A moving SRP, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, means these prices will go up or down depending on market factors.
Violators will be fined P2 million and face imprisonment of not less than a year under the Price Act.
After flooding the market with 2.4 metric tons of imported and local rice, the Department of Agriculture wants to limit to only five the types of commercial rice that will have their corresponding SRPs.
Fancy rice names such as Jasmine, Sinandomeng, Super Angelica and Yummy will now be prohibited.
Rice classifications will consist of the following: local regular milled rice priced at P39 per kilo, local well-milled rice at P44 per kilo, imported regular milled rice at P37 per kilo and imported regular milled rice or premium rice at P40 per kilo.
Special types of rice such as Malagkit, Milagrosa, Hinumay, organic brown, and red and black rice will not be subject to SRPs.
Another controversial move is the ban on traditional “open rice containers” in markets and “talipapa.”
Piñol calls this “unhealthy” and retailers will be required to use “labeled vacuum-sealed rice bags” reflecting the source of the rice — Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam or Pakistan.
These actions are intended to arrest the 10.4-percent rice inflation last month, up from 7.1 percent, because of the National Food Authority’s delayed importation and the damage wrought by “Ompong” on Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon.
These raised food inflation to 9.7 percent, resulting in an overall inflation rate of 6.7 percent in September.
To many of us, these government moves are already long overdue. The public also wants to see profiteers identified, prosecuted and jailed.
These middlemen and smugglers made billions of pesos from manipulating prices and may have escaped punishment because of this administration’s delayed response.
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