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April 14, 2008

PHILIPPINES/FOOD CRISIS
Govt says it is in control of rice problem

The Philippine government said on Saturday it would not declare a food emergency although the soaring rice price is hitting the country so hard.

The current "rice problem could not yet be regarded as a crisis", the official Philippines News Agency quoted a spokesman of the Malacanang presidential palace as saying.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Anthony Golez said that the government "is still in control of the situation."

However, some opposition politicians have called for a declaration of a state of calamity amid the rising prices and supply shortage of the staple.

Golez said the government could not just declare a state of calamity without an objective basis.

Philippine Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez also said that the government will exhaust all means first before declaring a "rice and corn emergency." He said the government has the power to go after traders engaged in hoarding and profiteering. ?


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