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PIA Press Release

PGMA: RP rice cheaper compared to neighbors

Cebu City (13 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told the Filipino community in Beijing, China during a recent visit that rice prices in the Philippines are lower compared to its neighbors amid the rising costs of food and energy worldwide.

Government-subsidized rice in the Philippines only costs P18.25/kilo compared to subsidized-rice in Malaysia priced at P25/kilo and in Indonesia at P27/kilo, according to Pres. Arroyo.

Mrs. Arroyo further said market price of commercial rice in the country can be bought as low as P32/kilo unlike in Thailand or Vietnam that has reached P50 or P60 per kilo.

Government efforts to subsidize rice prices at affordable costs is credited to the economic reforms her administration has implemented particularly the expanded value-added tax (E-VAT) that has allowed the country to weather such crisis in food and energy, according to the President.

The President again congratulated the legislators who supported and passed the EVAT law as it enabled the government to have adequate resources to subsidize pro-poor programs such as rice and electric subsidy to identified poor families as a consequence of the increasing costs of food and energy in the global market.

President Arroyo hosted a luncheon affair with the Filipino Olympians and Filipino residents in Beijing last Saturday as she graced the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

The country meanwhile will continue to see a stable supply of rice as the National Food Authority (NFA) injected 28M bags of rice in the market nationwide in the next six months or the second semester this year and preempt any possible escalation of prices particularly during the lean months.

NFA administrator Jessup P. Navarro said starting last month until this month of August, the agency would distribute 6.5M bags of rice while the volume would be reduced to 5M bags by September, the start of the harvest season. The number would be further reduced to 3M bags per month as the harvest peaks until December, Navarro added.

Navarro bared the increased market injection by the NFA from 3,000 to 14T bags daily has effectively prevented the abrupt rise in the prices of rice even after the devastation wrought by Typhoon Frank.

Cebu and the rest of the provinces within Region 7 would be injected with 2.1 M bags of rice and is one of the regions that would be injected with a high targeted volume of rice apart from Region 3 with 2.5M bags and Region 4 with 2.4M bags of rice, this is learned.

The highest rice injection would be in Metro Manila, where consumption rate is highest averaging 54,633 bags daily beginning last month until August and would also get 6.6M bags of rice until the year ends, Navarro claimed. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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