No more unusual spike in rice, garlic prices - Palace

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2014 07:48 PM | Updated as of Jun 27 2014 03:48 AM

MANILA - A Palace official on Thursday claimed there are no more unusual increases in the prices of rice and garlic.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the prices of rice and garlic were among the possible items in the agenda of the meeting of President Benigno Aquino with agriculture officials Thursday.

"Maaari pong talakayin iyung mga particular na aksyon na isasagawa ng pamahalaan para matiyak ‘yung stable supply and prices of basic food items," he said.

Coloma belives that government’s surveillance deterred hoarding and stabilized prices.

“Palagay ko nagbunga na iyan, dahil simula naman noong una nating tinalakay ito, mga two weeks ago, ay patungo naman doon sa pagkakaroon ng mas stable supply... at ‘yung stable prices din," he said. "Hindi naman tayo nakabalita na ngayon ng unusual spike in prices na siyang naging sanhi ng mga tanong at mga concerns ‘nung two weeks ago."

He said government won't let down its guard. “Patuloy na sinusubaybayan ng ating pamahalaan ang galaw ng produkto sa iba’t ibang lugar para tiyakin na hindi magkakaroon ng artipisyal na kakulangan. “

Earlier this week, President Benigno Aquino indicated most Filipinos were spared from the effects of high prices of rice.

Speaking to reporters in Japan, the Chief Executive said price increases affect only well-milled rice and not the rice sold by the National Food Authority to the public.

"NFA (National Food Authority) has also doubled its normal supply to ensure that there is... adequate supply that will prevent any undue upward move[ment]—parang ‘yung panic-buying that will induce further price spikes," he said.

Aquino, however, did not give any assurance that prices of rice and other products like garlic and ginger will stabilize soon.

“Nag-import tayo ng rice, as you know, we got criticized for it—800,000 (metric tons)—dahil may expectation na itong June—June, July—would be the lean months. So ‘nung dumating na ‘yung 12,000 of that 800,000—it’s roughly about 200,000 a month to augment. Ngayon, kasabay ‘non, I asked the DOST (Department of Science and Technology)—siguro a month, two months ago, some time back—na can we use satellite imagery to actually determine arable lands that are planted to rice, tapos i-imbue kung ano ba ‘yung tonnage per hectare in these particular municipalities to get the real, parang a real and accurate picture of ‘yung rice supply natin,” he said.

Aquino also could not pinpoint the cause of price increases. “Now, ang daming debate. ‘Yung output dahil sa ‘Yolanda’, ‘Santi’, and others, ano ba ang epekto talaga ‘non? Nagka-delay ba, et cetera. ‘Yung epekto ba ng pag-aari… ‘Yung laban natin, laban sa Spratlys, ay nagpapataas ng presyo? We need definitive answers. Pero in the interim nga, dahil may projection na magiging manipis ang supply for June and July, nag-import na muna tayo ‘nung 800,000. There will be a meeting, perhaps this week—if not, at the latest, by next week—che-check-in rin ‘yung especially rice but also pati na rin sa garlic to determine exactly what is causing this price spike or price spikes.”

Coloma earlier said he expects rice prices to stabilize in 2 months.

He also said government agencies are conducting surveillance work to determine if there is any hoarding to jack up the prices of commodities.