MANILA — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Sunday sought to allay stakeholders' concerns on the rice price ceiling, which it said was only temporary.
President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. set the price cap for regular milled rice at P41 per kilo and for well-milled rice at P45 a kilo. This will take effect on September 5, the Palace said.
NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Marcos' executive order on the price ceiling was not a standalone measure to lower rice prices.
“We are confident that the imposition of a price ceiling is only a temporary measure. We expect rice harvest to commence soon and anticipate that other initiatives will produce the desired result," Balisacan said in a statement.
"We note that the price of rice has been sharply increasing over the past weeks, which is inconsistent with the apparent supply and demand situation. This implies that some are manipulating the expected impact of El Niño to depict a shortage at this time,” he added.
The NEDA chief said the Philippines' rice supply would be enough until the end of the year due to the start of the harvest season this September and additional rice imports.
Government also continues to crack down on rice hoarders and price manipulators, he said.
The Federation of Free Farmers on Saturday said it was "very worried" about Marcos Jr.'s order, as farmers from Pampanga and Sultan Kudarat already reported a P3 per kilogram decrease in palay prices.
The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. said the order would "never work" as rice prices were driven by the rules of supply and demand.
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual clarified that some premium rice varieties were not covered by the order, which only applied to regular-milled and well-milled types.
Based on the Department of Agriculture's monitoring as of Friday, prices of imported commercial rice ranged from P43 to P65 per kilo, while local rice retailed at P42 to P65 per kilo in Metro Manila.