A rice vendor tends to his stall at the Quinta Market in Manila. The National Food Authority Council has recently authorized the private sector to import rice beyond the minimum access volume in an effort to bring down the prices of rice, says Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Friday. ABS-CBN NEWS

MANILA – The government will require retailers to sell cheaper regular and well milled commercial rice or their license to sell rice will be revoked, Trade secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez made the announcement during a press conference of various Cabinet officials held in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan in the aftermath of typhoon “Ompong.”

“The NFA [National Food Authority], DTI [Department of Trade and Industry], PNP [Philippine National Police], NBI [National Bureau of Investigation], nagkausap-usap kami sa command conference. At ‘yung NFA may ilalabas na regulation, na ‘yung retailers sa palengke dapat magbenta ng non-premium at non-fancy commercial rice, ‘yung regular lang at well-milled na P38 to P41 pesos per kilo,” Lopez said.

Napansin kasi natin bakit tumaas? Kasi nawala rin ‘yung mga regular at well-milled commercial rice. Puro premium at fancy na lang ang binebenta na P44 to P45 per kilo [ang presyo]. Kung ‘di nila gagawin, matatanggalan sila ng lisensiya,” Lopez added.

Likewise, Lopez said that 4.6 million sacks of state-subsidized and cheaper NFA rice will be made available nationwide and that NFA rice will also be sold in supermarkets.

The NFA rice is just priced at P27 to P32 per kilo. Its shortage in recent months due to the delayed importation of NFA rice has driven up rice prices and left the public lining up for hours in markets just to buy the cheaper NFA rice.

NFA administrator Jason Aquino has gone on leave after President Rodrigo Duterte announced he was looking to replace him amid the shortage of NFA rice. (GMA News)

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