Members of Gabriela Women’s Partylist today stormed the office of the National Food Authority(NFA) to denounce the pull-out of NFA rice priced at P18.25 from most of the 108 public markets in the National Capital Region. The P25 high variety rice from the United States was said to replace the cheaper NFA rice in the markets.
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of the women’s party, said this move will aggravate the situation of the largely impoverished consumers, who cannot afford the P25/kilo rice.
“What the government needs to institute is a price control mechanism that will keep the prices of NFA rice at lower levels,” she said.
Palabay cited the Price Act of 1992 giving authorizing the President and the Department of Trade and Industry to impose price freeze and controls in times of calamities.
Fe Ramirez, a housewife from Brgy. Batasan Hills and member of the group, said mothers find it difficult to make ends meet, especially after the P18.25 NFA rice was replaced by the P25/kilo rice in the markets.
“Ito na nga lang ang bigas na kahit paano’y kaya naming bilhin, tatanggalin pa sa mga pamilihang pinupunta namin,” Ramirez commented. She said NFA rice stationed for sale at barangay centers are accessible only to those who are favored by barangay officials.
“Mas konti rin ang suplay ng bigas sa mga barangay kesa sa mga palengke. Karamihan din sa amin ay dagdag na gumagastos pa ng pamasahe sa pagpunta sa mga center,” she added.
Palabay also criticized Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap’s statement favoring the elimination of price rice subsidy, saying this will push market prices of NFA rice higher.
“Clearly, Yap and Pres.are abetting the crisis by employing measures which are either detrimental to the poor or by churning up public relations gimmicks to salvage her already torn and tattered record,” she concluded. ##