Press Release
June 3, 2008

Inspect warehouses nationwide

Senate President Manny Villar urged government authorities to extensively conduct inspections of rice warehouses nationwide to check against massive rice hoarding.

Villar, Nacionalista Party president, said this should be implemented not only in Luzon but also in the Visayas and Mindanao, where prices of the grain have skyrocketed.

The Senate president said a composite team of the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Agriculture, and the National Food Authority should strategize and see to it that millers and warehouses across the country are routinely inspected.

"The situation where the price of rice unjustifiably increases imperils not only the survival of our poor people but also poses a threat to peace and order, and this should be urgently addressed," Villar said.

At the same time, the Senate president said the Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority must provide and ensure a steady supply of rice in Mindanao following drastic price hikes.

The prices of rice in Cotabato City have increased to P48.50 in the last week of May, which is two times higher than NFA rice which is being sold at P18.50 a kilo.

Pushing agricultural renaissance amid the rice shortage, Villar stressed that a new agricultural roadmap is needed, which includes providing rice farmers with all the necessary support facilities and services including agri-credit.

Earlier, Villar called on Malacanang to release Mindanao�fs 30-percent share of the lump sum funds of the P1.227-trillion budget for 2008, as mandated by a special provision in the General Appropriations Act.

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