SRP on rice takes effect

SRP on rice takes effect

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 28, 2018 - 12:00am

Fancy brand names banned

MANILA, Philippines —The government has officially implemented the suggested retail price (SRP) for Filipinos’ main staple in a bid to protect consumers and prevent profiteering.

The agriculture and trade departments as well as the National Food Authority yesterday launched the agreed SRP for rice after several consultations with stakeholders.

“This was already discussed as early as September. It just got delayed because some retailers already bought stocks at higher prices,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said during the launch.

“We understand the business so we delayed the implementation but we can no longer delay it further,” he added.

All commercial rice to be sold in the public markets will have an SRP and will only be classified as imported or local regular-milled, well-milled, premium and special rice.

The use of brand names will also be banned to stop deceptive labeling.

Imported well milled rice sells for P39 per kilogram while imported premium rice is priced at P43 per kilo.

The SRP for local regular milled rice is P39 per kilo, P44 per kilo for well milled rice and P47 per kilo for premium rice.

Special rice, which includes the likes of Cordillera heirloom, organic rice, Jasponica, Doña Maria, hinumay, malido, malagkit and other indigenous rice varieties, will not be regulated.

“There is a 15 day publication period required before we implement the penalty and sanctions. In the meantime, we will just monitor their compliance and observe if they are following,” Piñol said.

Piñol said penalties and sanctions include cancellation of NFA licenses, fines and possible criminal charges.

“This could lead to jail of four months to four years and under the Price Act, there will be a fine from P2,000 to a high of P1 million and worse, possible stoppage of the business,” he said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, for his part, said the SRP and labeling would make classifications much simple.

Lopez lauded the DA’s move to cancel the  licenses of retailers.

“It is a big deal that the DA and NFA will revoke [their licenses] once they violate. This is very important so other businessmen will follow,” Lopez said.

The SRP will initially cover Metro Manila and nearby cities within the Greater Manila area. 

Meanwhile, the SRP for supermarkets and other regions will be discussed by the stakeholders next week.

“We will give them (supermarkets)  time to change their labels because according to them, they already had them printed in the sacks and we understand that changing of labels should be effective after December,” Piñol said.

The SRP will be reviewed every 15 days, the Agri chief said.

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