Agence France-Presse

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the “unimpeded importation” of rice as a measure to reduce soaring food prices in the country, the presidential palace said on Tuesday.

The Philippines’ headline inflation rose in September to 6.7 per cent year-on-year from 6.4 per cent in August.

Inflation in September continued to be driven by supply-side factors as food prices remained elevated.

Rice inflation rose to double-digit rates in September due to tightness in domestic supply amid the ongoing lean season and weather-related disruptions.

“The president ordered the unimpeded importation of rice.

“He wants to flood the market with rice.

“So that even if the price of crude and other oil prices should go up still further, that the people will have access to affordable rice,’’ presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told a news conference.

According to Roque, the lifting of restrictions allows big private companies to import rice.

“There are no more restrictions as long as they pay the tariff and they use the tariff for the Philippine rice farmers.

“The Duterte administration is working swiftly to temper the rise in the prices of goods and offer relief to the poor who are feeling the hit of a faster inflation rate,’’ he added.

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