MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III said he will summon officials concerning the price hikes of basic goods in the country.
“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,” Aquino told reporters during his one-day working visit in Japan on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Palace admitted that the government has yet to determine the cause of the sudden surge in the price of garlic and other goods.
In the past few weeks, the price of imported garlic has been hovering at P300 to P400 per kilo in Metro Manila while commercial rice prices increased by P2 per kilogram.
The Palace later on said the hike might have been due to port congestion and the government’s own campaign against smuggling.
“Ang daming debate… ‘Yung output dahil sa ‘Yolanda’, ‘Santi’, and others, ano ba ang epekto talaga nun? ‘Yung laban natin, laban sa Spratlys, ay nagpapataas ng presyo? We need definitive answers,” said the President.
But while they are still determining the cause, Aquino said the government has decided to import rice because the projection is that supply will be thin in June and July.
He also said the public in the meantime can avail of “low-end” rice since its price hasn’t had much movement.
“[The] 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.
Aside from this, he said he has also tasked the Department of Science and Technology to help paint a “real and accurate picture” of the country’s rice supply. (MNS)