Rice price cap may be lifted after harvest, Marcos hints
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday said the government could ease the price cap he imposed on rice once the cost in the market stabilizes, which he hopes would happen after the harvest season.
“We’re harvesting now and when that comes in, I think we will see that prices will go down,” the President told reporters in Iriga City. “Maybe if the market lowers the price, we can reduce the controls we have in place.”
Marcos issued Executive Order No. 39 on Aug. 31, imposing price ceilings on rice in the whole country following the “alarming” increase in its retail prices.
The price ceiling for regular milled rice is P41 per kilogram while the cap on well-milled rice is at P45 per kg.
The National Food Authority, chaired by the president, has also set new buying prices per kilogram of P19 to P23 for dry palay and P16 to P19 for wet palay.
Gov’t should fix system
Marcos was in Iriga to distribute P2.5 million worth of rice to 2,000 indigent families at the University of Saint Anthony.
He pointed out that the Department of Agriculture reported that this year’s rice production is higher than last year and “we have enough supply of rice, but we have not released them properly.”
But he admitted that the government should fix the agriculture system from planting, research and development, processing, distribution, and marketing, to retail.
“It is impossible for the price of anything related to agriculture to move without affecting other sectors. That is fundamental,” he said.
Marcos has been going around the country to distribute seized rice that was found to have been illegally imported.
The distributed rice was part of the 42,180 sacks of smuggled rice, worth P42 million, that were seized by the Bureau of Customs during a warehouse raid in Zamboanga City on Sept. 15.
Aside from distributing rice to indigent families, the president also visited Nabua town in Camarines Sur to launch the Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair, touted by Malacañang as the country’s biggest service caravan.
In a press statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said the fair was meant to provide major government services to underprivileged Filipinos in various communities across the Philippines.
The fair was simultaneously launched in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte for Luzon; Tolosa, Leyte for Visayas; and in Monkayo, Davao de Oro for Mindanao.
The caravan featured the government’s flagship program “Kadiwa ng Pangulo,” Passport on Wheels, driver’s license and national ID registration, and the services of Pag-Ibig Fund, National Bureau of Investigation, and police clearance applications.