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Retailers, gov’t tie up to keep costs down

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.—CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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TAGS: DTI, PRD, Presyong Risonable Dapat, rice prices, Robinsons Supermarkets, sugar prices
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