We may have a solution to make cheaper rice and sugar available in the market.  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) proposes a price setting approach where we will allow retailers or importers to import rice and sugar if they commit to sell it at Php38 per kilo for rice and Php50 per kilo for sugar.
This way, we don’t need to worry about the layers of traders making their own margins in the process. Through this scheme, we allow retailers who will undertake to sell all of their imported stocks at the given set price. Their sales will also be audited to verify that all imported stocks are sold at the desired price. These retailers include supermarkets who can make their stocks available nationwide.


This is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 13 which instructs the Executive Branch to find ways in facilitating importation and availability of basic commodities especially rice and sugar.

I shared the idea with Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. He fully supports the idea because this can be done faster and low-priced products are guaranteed to reach consumers.  Our next step would be developing the procedure.
Basically, retailers or importers will give an undertaking to DTI and DA that they will sell at the set prices. We will also advertise and sell their stocks at DTI Suking Outlets and DA Malasakit Stores.


Import permits can be given for a specific volume per period and at the targeted price so they won’t import to sell at other price points other than the set price. These importers will just pay tariff for their revenues as a way to protect the local farmers.

We have an immediate solution in providing the rice, and the reason why we prefer on buying in supermarkets is because we have greater control as to their sales record and this is not for major profit for them. We computed a reasonable return based on costing and have arrived at a price of Php38 per kilo.

Supermarkets will make the traders and palengkes can continue to sell local rice even at Php44 per kilo if they want because local rice is known to taste better. The good harvest local rice can go down also at Php39 per kilo but at least we don’t have wait for that as consumers are complaining everyday.

Consumers who prefer local rice can also pay premium because it tastes better. It was imported at Php80 per kilo but when you go to local stores the prices starts at Php120-180. But basic rice should be made available so consumers always have a choice.

As I end, I want to make it clear again that this will give only to those who will commit to sell at the targeted price. I sincerely hope this is one quick solution for everyone while we are waiting for rice tariffs. In that way, it will keep traders on their toes.♦