MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday tasked the trade and agriculture departments to closely monitor rice prices and go after hoarders and "price manipulators," Malacañang said on Wednesday.
"Rice supply is sufficient," Marcos said, as quoted by the Presidential Communications Office.
"Prices are, however, very variable," he added.
The President said the government is working with the private sector to keep prices stable and continue providing affordable rice in Kadiwa stalls.
"The President will go after hoarders and price manipulators who take advantage of the lean months before harvest season," Press Secretary Cheloy Garafil said.
The Department of Agriculture had said it would not be easy to ascertain price manipulation now that the NFA has been stripped off its regulatory function.
"Sa ngayon kasi hindi basta-basta pwedeng sabihin na price control, ano basehan natin? We are not in the position of a national emergency para mag price control," DA spokesperson Rex Estoperez had said.
Rice price has been steadily rising in the past few months, further triggered by India's export ban.
Marcos assured the public last week that the country would have enough rice supply until the height of the El Niño phenomenon next year.