MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture will sell rice at P38 per kilo on Valentine’s Day, February 14, to dispel rumors there is a shortage of the staple grain, Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
Piñol said in a radio interview that the sale should also send a message to traders and vendors against overpricing. The activity will be handled by Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat.
The Agriculture chief clarified the country has sufficient rice stocks.
By the end of the first quarter this year, he said buffer stocks are estimated to be at 3 million metric tons, enough to supply the daily consumption of 31,450 metric tons for 96 days. He called this the biggest rice inventory in recent years.
At the House of Representatives, at least two lawmakers filed a resolution to look into reports of shortage of rice supply.
Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano filed House Resolution No. 1648, seeking an inquiry into the true state of the country’s rice supply in light of the National Food Authority’s statement that there would be a shortage of its rice in some areas of the country.
The NFA said their buffer stock is only good for three days, way below the 15 days’ supply they should have on hand at any given time.
“This, along with the steep price of rice in the current market, displays severe inefficiency on the part of the NFA. Further, this betrays their mandate of ensuring food security and stable rice supply in the country,” Alejano said.
Many Filipino households purchase NFA-distributed rice because it is cheaper. However, the lack of supply in markets is forcing them to purchase more expensive rice varieties.
1-Pacman partylist Representative Michael Romero, a member of the committee on food security, also filed a resolution to investigate whether syndicates within or without the NFA could be responsible for causing an artificial shortage.