Press Release
June 24, 2008


Senator Mar Roxas called on the Department of Agriculture to assess the impact of typhoon damage - amounting to half a billion pesos and causing the loss of crops in 300,000 hectares in Western Visayas and 12 other provinces -on the country's dwindling rice supply.

"It's not enough to know the damage in peso terms but on how this will manifest itself in terms of rice and food prices and supply. Let's be more open and transparent about this and other problems, to come up with an integrated plan for rehabilitation and mobilization of resources in the wake of typhoon 'Frank'," he said.

Roxas has been aiding in and coordinating with different agencies on relief and rehabilitation efforts in Capiz and Iloilo since Friday.

The Chairman of the Senate trade and commerce committee, said the external shock of a global rice crisis combined with the internal shock of a major typhoon disaster requires a long and hard look at existing strategies and the need for long-term programs to avert a more acute rice and food shortage.

"Typhoon 'Frank' shows how vulnerable our food supply and its affordability are to internal shocks caused by weather disturbances and natural calamities. All the more we need to invest in our farmers and make sure that they get the support needed to recover from this latest setback," he added.

Roxas also called on the Department of Trade and Industry to activate the National Price Coordinating Council as an initial step to preventing unjustified price increases of goods and services by unscrupulous traders.

The price of ordinary commercial rice has gone up from P32/kg a month ago to P36-P39/kg at present. Roxas has repeated that the worldwide shortage in the commodity is forcing the country to focus on raising domestic production and attain self-sufficiency, to meet local demand.

Hard flour (Wellington), used for making pan de sal, is now at P980 per 25-kg bag, a more than 50% increase from P640 a year ago. Meanwhile, soft flour, used for making noodles, is at P840 per 25-kg bag, from about P500 a year ago.

He also noted that the price of petroleum products has increased for successive weeks now. Unleaded gasoline now costs P57.96 per liter and diesel now costs P50.94/L, after an increase last weekend of P1.50/L. Liquefied petroleum gas has increased by P1/L to P32.22/L or P653.70 per 11-kg tank, further burdening consumers struggling with high prices of food.

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