Press Release
October 17, 2012

By Senator Manny Villar

Mr. President,

I rise to sponsor Committee Report 444 recommending the approval of House Bill 4801 and taking into consideration Senate Bills 669, 1306, 1612 and 3527, authored by Senators Estrada, Santiago, Escudero and this representation. The bill is a simple legislation with the highest of intentions and the noblest of purpose: to amend the existing Price Act by including locally-manufactured instant noodles and potable water in containers in the definition of "basic necessities" for the purpose of protecting consumers against undue price increases during calamity, emergency, widespread illegal price manipulation and other similar situations.

In the Explanatory Note of Senate Bill 669, it said: "Instant noodles was first introduced in Japan in the 1950s and is now being produced in over 80 countries worldwide. In the Philippines, as in neighboring countries, the demand for noodles continues to be on the rise" Based on available data, the consumption of instant noodles in the country has risen steadily and in fact, it has become a new staple of many poor Filipino families. The increase in popularity of the instant noodles can be due to the fact that it is cheaper and easier to prepare than rice.

On the other hand, by its very nature, bottled water or potable water in containers has become one of the most essential goods. As the fast changing and erratic economic conditions change, accessibility and security to potable water at reasonable prices must be ensured.

The Committee took notice that in the aftermath of the last five most disastrous storms and natural calamities (Ondoy, Pepeng, Milenyo, Pedring and habagat monsoon), instant noodles and potable water in containers have become two of the most in-demand and has the biggest tendency to be overpriced to the detriment of the citizens. Likewise, the prevalent public consumption of instant noodles and potable water in containers has placed it in the ranks of basic necessities such as rice, corn, bread, fish, pork, poultry, bee, etc. And even during relief operations in times of calamities and emergencies, instant noodles and potable water in containers are the basic goods distributed.

Kalakip ng pananalitang ito ang kahilingan sa Kapulungan ng Senado na ipasa natin ang panukalang ito para matulungan natin ang marami nating kababayan. Uulitin ko po: layunin ng Komite na isali ang instant noodles manufactured in the country at potable water in containers sa definition ng "basic necessities" sa kasalukuyang Price Act. Ito po ay para manatiling accessible o kayang-kaya ito sa mga mamimili. Malaking bagay ito sa maraming Filipino dahil kailangan na ang dalawang bilihin o produktong ito sa pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan. Higit na kailangang hindi ito maging mahal sa mga panahong tulad ng kalamidad, o panahon ng emergency o panahon ng kakulangan. Dapat manatili itong mura at kayang-kayang bilhin ng ating mga mamamayan.

Marami pong salamat, Mr. President.

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