House Leaders Calls For Economic Tokhang Versus Rice Hoarders
ECONOMIC TOKHANG – Lawmakers on Wednesday recommended President Rodrigo Duterte to initiate an “economic tokhang” versus abusive rice importers and traders.
Several senators have voiced their concern over rice profiteers in the past. Some say that the low price of unhusked rice or palay is due to hoarders.
Secretary William Dar has stated before that they would crack down on rice hoarders. He added that those caught would be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
In lieu of this, lawmakers wanted Duterte to launch a campaign against individuals who profit off strangle-holding the rice industry. These would include hoarders who keep prices high while giving low price to farmers.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said that the campaign against rice profiteers could include Duterte’s strong language and filing economic sabotage charges. He added that directives from the President makes everybody behave.
According to an article by Philstar, Salceda also stated that Duterte’s connections and methods are key to this campaign. With the help of Duterte price manipulation in the rice industry would be discouraged, Salceda added.
He then said that the increased efforts to investigate rice profiteering would already deter abusive pricing. With this, Deputy speaker Mikee Romero wanted local government units to join in on the campaign.
Romero stressed that LGUs should join state agencies in investigating warehouses and check for price manipulation. He added that LGUs should have visitation power as part of their authority to issue business permits.
Following this, he said that there is no reason for the price of rice to stay high. Romero added that due to rice importation under the new Rice Tarrification Law, supply deficits should be filled.
There should also be no reason for the price of palay to drop to such low levels, said the deputy speaker. He then stated that certain individuals are definitely gaining massive profits at the expense of consumers and farmers.
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