Zambo City in state of calamity due to rice crisis

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/21 August) — Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar yesterday approved a resolution by the city council recommending to place the city under a state of calamity.

The decision came after a meeting with the Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC).

“The Declaration of State of Calamity will serve as deterrent to those who are manipulating rice prices because provision thereat emphasizes on the control of rice prices especially during rice shortage,” Salazar told MindaNews.

Acting City Agriculturist Carmencita Sanchez reported that rice prices in six districts were as follows:  Tumaga District, from P55 to P68 per kilo; Ayala District, P60 to P70/kl; Culianan District, P58 to P65/kl; Manicahan District, P56 to P70/kg, Curuan District, P56 to P60/kl; and Vitali District, P46 to P60/kl.

“The LPCC has recommended to President Duterte the Price ceiling of P46.10/kilo for premium/head rice and P37.50/kilo for well-milled rice,” Salazar said, as she instructed the City Agriculture Office to continue monitoring the prevailing rice prices in all districts. Malacanang, however, has yet to respond.

City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Elmeir Jade Apolinario said the city needs 6000 bags of rice a day and that the sudden price hike is due to “shortage of rice supply and higher demand for same.”

The security sector would be tasked to watch for hoarders, rice cartels and their protectors.

“Security forces are to be tapped once Price Council starts its work…to determine locations of bodegas that are not registered,” Salazar said.

She said Region 2 is willing to sell rice as it is harvest time in the northern region.

“The CDRRMO has started talks with some local traders, and even out-of-town traders,” she said.

Apolinario, in a separate interview mentioned the possible purchase of rice from Pagadian City and Misamis.  (Frencie Carreon/MindaNews)