Consumer advocate proposes lowering SRPs for rice

MANILA, Philippines – In line with the government's projection of lower rice prices after the signing of the rice tariffication law, suggested retail prices (SRPs) should also be amended, according to a consumer rights advocate.

In a roundtable discussion on the effects of the rice tariffication law on Wednesday, February 27, Laban Konsyumer founder and president Victorio Dimagiba said SRPs should not be removed so quickly.

"Maybe it’s premature to remove [the SRPs]. I checked the SRP a while ago, [and] maybe it can be lowered [instead]," he added.

Dimagiba previously served as undersecretary for the Department of Trade and Industry's Consumer Protection Group.

"Because the well-milled, it's at P39 [per kilo] but it's already P35 [per kilo] at the supermarkets. Maybe it can be lowered, but it serves a purpose. So don't remove it yet," he said.

In 2018, the Department of Agriculture agreed to set SRPs for well-milled and regular-milled rice amid the climbing prices of both palay, or unhusked rice, and milled rice.

The SRPs were made effective by October 2018 through the Price Act.

In December that same year, UNTV reported that Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said SRPs would still be imposed even after the rice tariffication bill's signing into law.

This is in contrast to Piñol's statement in a press briefing last week. He had said there would be no need for SRPs anymore.

"The SRP was used by the NFA (National Food Authority) to stabilize the price of rice in the market, but since NFA will be stripped of its regulatory powers, they have no reason to impose SRP," Piñol had said. – Rappler.com