Bishop asks people to shun panic buying

By Roy Lagarde
CBCP News Online

MANILA, April 11, 2008—A Catholic bishop called on the people not to engage in panic buying of rice so as not to aggravate the situation.

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop said such move could also help slow down price increases of the staple food.

“The first thing to do is not to resort to panic buying because that will just increase the frustration and nervousness of many people,” he said.

Ledesma urged the public to remain optimistic despite reports of rice shortage setting in over the lean months of July to September.

“I think it’s better to just look on this as a problem that can be resolved if all of us are able to cooperate together,” said the chairman of the Second National Rural Congress (NRC-II).

Civil society groups warn that worst situation in the country’s rice supply is yet to come as they predict the prices of rice will soar to as high as 40 pesos.

Reports of tightening global supply of rice have pushed local prices in the market of the staple food, abnormally high even as the harvest season is still headed for its peak next month.

Former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod, meanwhile, lashed Malacañang officials for giving contradicting statements about the looming rice crisis.

He said instead of giving the people reasons to think positive, some officials further exacerbate the situation.

“I think the government should just designate one spokesperson for the rice situation in the country in order to have uniformity in statements and not add to the confusion,” said the lay consultant of the NRC-II.

Monsod also opposed a proposed plan to create a special committee that will handle the rice situation.

“You will complicate the problem if you create super bodies because there are already existing bodies tasked to do the job. Just fire government officials who are not doing their jobs,” he said.