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MANILA, Philippines – A Department of Agriculture (DA) official said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been presented a recommendation to lift the price ceiling on rice.
“From our parameters, it seems we’re ready [to remove it]. It’s all upon the president to decide on it,” Bureau of Plant Industry Director Glenn Panganiban told reporters in Malacañang on Tuesday, October 3, when asked whether the DA has made the recommendation to the chief executive.
Asked to clarify further if a recommendation has indeed been made, he nodded and said: “It’s a joint [recommendation] by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and DA.”
Malacañang press briefer Daphne Oseña Paez then clarified: “There was a report showing favorable factors. Let’s just wait.”
The press briefing took place after Marcos presided over a sectoral meeting with the DA and DTI on proposed indicators for the lifting of Executive Order No. 39.
Marcos set the price cap on rice on September 5 in an attempt to stop unscrupulous individuals – such as hoarders and smugglers – from manipulating market prices of rice to as high as P60 per kilo.
This forced retailers to sell rice at around P41 to P45 per kilo.
Adhering to the price cap has been a challenge for rice retailers, who struggled making a profit since logistics costs in the business are already expensive.
The policy may also have been used by traders as justification to lower the buying prices from farmers, whose backs are already against the wall.
According to Panganiban, 80 to 90% of retailers have been compliant with the price cap.
“We expect stable supply, and hopefully, we are able to come up with a decision on the rice cap,” he said. “Our production grew because of the interventions that our president mandated to our agencies.” – Rappler.com