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PBBM signs EO imposing price ceiling on rice

Prices of rice at one of the stalls in Nepa Q Mart. (August 3, 2023 File Photo) 

NAVOTAS CITY, (PIA) — Following the joint recommendations of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday, August 31, signed Executive Order (EO) No. 39 imposing price ceiling on rice. 

The need to implement the initiative arises from the unreasonable increase in the retail prices of rice despite the sufficient supply owing to the recent arrival of rice imports as well as the expected surplus on locally produced rice.

Fraudulent activities in the rice industry including illegal importation and price manipulation are laid out to be the main contributing factors affecting not only the cost of the commodity but also the steady access of people to rice as a basic necessity aside from the oil price fluctuations in the global market.

“The current surge in retail prices of rice in the country has resulted in a considerable economic strain on Filipinos, particularly those who are underprivileged and marginalized,” the EO read.

The inflation rate for rice is also seen to be a factor that causes the unstable price movements in the market as it rose to 4.2% in July 2023 from 1.0% in January 2022 based on the latest data of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“In light of the current situation, it is crucial and urgent for the State to guarantee that basic necessities are not only sufficient but also reasonably priced and conveniently accessible to every Filipino,” it added.

Under EO 39, the mandated price ceiling on regular milled rice is set at P41.00 per kilogram while the well-milled rice is capped at P45.00 per kilogram.

As of August 28, 2023, the DA reported that the local regular milled rice in markets within the National Capital Region (NCR) is priced at P42.00 to P55.00 per kilogram while the cost of local well-milled rice ranged from P48.00 to P56.00 per kilogram.

Meanwhile, the DA shared during the sectoral meeting with the President that the rice supply for the second semester of the year is projected to accumulate a total of 10.15 million metric tons (MMT) which would be more than enough to meet the current 7.76 MMT demand of consumers.

The 10.15 MMT of rice will be sourced from the 7.20 MMT expected yield and 0.41 MMT imports in addition to the 2.53 MMT ending stock in the first semester of 2023.

On the other hand, the EO directs the DA and the DTI to oversee the strict implementation of the mandated rice price ceilings with the help of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

It also taps the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for the reinforcement of inspections against hoarding, smuggling, and other illegal activities while the Philippine Competition Commission is instructed to continuously facilitate consumer protection as well as fair market competition by penalizing cartels who will take advantage of the food production sector. (PCO/PIA-NCR)

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Janna Marie Pineda

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