ORMOC CITY-The central government on Friday (Nov.9) began enforcing the suggested retail prices (SRP) for rice in cities and provinces nationwide.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the National Food Authority (NFA), backed by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine National Police, will start imposing sanctions against traders and retailers not complying with the SRP set for both local and imported rice sold in the market.
In consultation with rice industry stakeholders, the following SRP were set: regular milled rice (local), P39 per kg.; well-milled rice (local), P44 per kg.; premium rice (local), P47 per kg.; well-milled rice (imported), P39 per kg.; and premium rice (imported), P43 per kg.
“This is to stabilize the price of rice. No more hoarding, no speculation. It’s good for consumers, market, and farmers. The SRP will be adjusted based on the volume of harvest and world market prices,” Piñol said during the launch of the SRP program at the city market here.
“Sanctions include a written warning on the first offense and for succeeding offenses, the violators could suffer penalties of a jail term of between four months and four years and a penalty of between PHP2,000 and PHP1 million. The NFA will also cancel their licenses to engage in rice trading and retailing,” he said.
If there are violators, the NFA regional and provincial managers will be relieved, Piñol said.
NFA officer-in-charge Tomas Escares said they will start sending warnings to violators on Monday and impose penalties a week after.
“Our order to NFA managers is to strictly implement the SRP program to ensure that affordable rice is available in the market,” Escares said.
The use of fancy names for rice, such as “Sinandomeng”, “Super Angelica”, “Double Diamond”, and others, which mislead the consumers, will also be stopped, according to the agriculture chief.
The SRP for Metro Manila and nearby areas was implemented last Oct. 27 although the penalties and fines could only be enforced 15 days after the publication of the guidelines, as approved by the NFA Council. (SARWELL Q. MENIANO/PNA)