Caps on rice prices

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By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

“But let us return the question to the president: What did you do to solve this problem. For instance, what policies or laws did you come up with to eventually make this country and exporter of produce or manufactured goods, better still machineries?”

If there was really enough supply of rice but stocks were being hoarded, then the remedy was to really go after the hoarders. But if the few raids done in some warehouses in Bulacan were just for photo-ops and to justify the cap on rice prices, it will soon blow up on the face of government.
Any college student knows that the law on supply and demand cannot be licked. It will have its way before anybody got the wiser. The prices as dictated by that law will then again prevail. The effect would be the people behind the policy would become the laughing stock in the eyes of the public. More so that the economic managers of the country were not consulted who in all probability would have advised against the price cap.
In case PBBM had not noticed, his credibility to the masses is getting lower. Luckily for him, his approval rating is still high. He should have banked on that and implemented effective measures to solve the main causes of the problem. He could have convinced the people to be patient and wait for the results. As long as the measures are sensible, I think the people could have waited.
The government has a vast mechanism to convince the people regarding that. What are the Philippine Information Agency and related government agencies for? Also the information offices of local governments (towns and provinces) which are all over the place and whose budgets are sizeable. These should have been made to work to convince the people of the president’s good intentions — if there is any.
As we said here last week, the coming rice harvest might not be enough to make a good enough dent on the real prices of the different kinds of rice. A fall bback might be the expected arrival of the grains to be imported from Vietnam.
But even if there will be imported rice if this is not distributed efficiently, it will not benefit the people in anyway. There will be those “smarter than others” (to quote PBBM’s mother) who will be the new hoarders.
Thus, the raiding of hoarders’ storage facilities should be a continuous effort. The question is, can our government be really efficient in this?
The other day, the president was lamenting the fact that everything in this country is imported. Not only is it a drain to our foreign exchange for it also has the effect of keeping the value of the peso low. It will forever keep us at the mercy of more developed economies. They could soon be able to strangle us economically.
But let us return the question to the president: What did you do to solve this problem. For instance, what policies or laws did you come up with to eventually make this country and exporter of produce or manufactured goods, better still machineries?
There are government agencies supposed to be taking care of that problem such as the DTI and DOST, etc., back stopped by banks who are supposed to finance MSME projects at reasonable interests and in a more accessible way.
These were already there when you ascended to power but still the collective progress of MSMEs are willy-nilly.
As to the establishment of new MSMES, what have you done to increase their number. Progress in these two fronts would be sure indicative of this country’s moving towards industrialization and perhaps to hurtle us away from being third world.
For sure. caps on rice prices will not take us there.**


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