MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Friday described the rice supply as the country's "most critical problem," as his administration continues to try to bring down prices.
"That is something that we are attending to with all of the partners that we have both in government and in the private sector," said Marcos Jr. during the sidelines in Zambales.
The President, also concurrently the agriculture chief, last week said government is "closely monitoring" rice prices, which already topped P65 per kilo in some wet markets in Metro Manila.
Marcos, who is also the concurrent agriculture chief, earlier said high farmgate prices and some imported farm inputs contributed to the price increase.
Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian earlier admitted it was "hard" to attain Marcos' campaign promise to bring down rice prices to P20 per kilo.
"We never promised," he said.
For his part, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio said that Marcos' P20 per kilo of rice vision would only be possible if agriculture productivity improved as the country needed to do a "lot of catching up" on the matter.
Rice demand from July to December this year is projected at 7.76 million metric tons, according to DA data.