MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday said rice prices could still go down to as low as P20 per kilo despite the El Niño and other agricultural matters.
When asked if his campaign promise was still possible, the President said, “May chance lagi ‘yan."
But Marcos said it was important to fix rice production and other issues, most especially when natural calamities reduce rice yields.
“Ngunit, kapag talaga nagawa natin ang cost of production binaba natin ay bababa rin ang presyo ng bigas. Bababa rin lahat. Basta’t mas mataas ang ani kahit na pwede nating ipagpantay ang presyo,” said Marcos.
“So, pagka naging mas normal na ang sitwasyon, malaking pag-asa talaga natin na ibababa natin ang presyo ng bigas,” he added.
In his speech earlier in the day, Marcos Jr. blamed the high rice prices on neighboring Asian countries that beefed up their buffer stock.
He had also attributed the high cost of the Filipino staple to rice hoarders and price manipulators. He ordered the Bureau of Customs to strengthen its monitoring of rice imports.
The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) earlier said the P20 per kilo target was still possible if agriculture productivity improved.
NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the country needed to do a "lot of catching up" on the matter.
In August, Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian said it was "hard" to attain Marcos' campaign promise to bring down rice prices.
"We never promised," he said of the P20 per kilo rice target.