Quezon City, Philippines – The rice watch group Bantay Bigas and Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women called for the government to immediately impose price control on commercial rice and distribute the stocks of the National Food Authority (NFA) as emergency relief for poor sectors affected by the lockdown imposed by the Duterte government as supposed response to the COVID-19 epidemic. The group demanded to pull down the price of commercial rice to P25 per kilo and make it accessible to poor sectors.

“As the poor farmers and consumers are primarily affected by the present government measures, price control on rice products is a must and urgent.  The country is under a public health emergency, thus, it is in the state’s power to carry out this measure.  The NFA stock should be immediately distributed to poor sectors as emergency relief, especially that mass transportation has been suspended and people’s mobility is under control,” exclaimed by Cathy Estavillo, Bantay Bigas Spokeperson.

She said that these would secure public welfare against profiteering and high level of retail prices.

“If the government could control people from moving around, then it could easily control prices.  Stabilization of prices, especially of rice is a mandate of the state, in this time of crisis,” she ended. ###

Photo by Bulatlat.

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