25.8 C
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

3 agencies to enforce new price caps on rice

- Advertisement -

The Departments of Trade and Industry, Local Government, and Agriculture will work together to strictly enforce the new price ceilings on rice in local markets as ordered by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., their leaders said Saturday.

Trade Secretary Fred Pascual emphasized that to fully execute Executive Order No. 39 issued on Friday, the DTI will coordinate with the DILG and local government units for price monitoring.

“We recognize the urgency of addressing the escalating rice prices in the market. In parallel, it is imperative to maintain stringent oversight over rice pricing and supply to preclude any potential hoarding and price manipulation by traders and retailers,” said Pascual in a statement.

To fortify the department’s monitoring and enforcement, the DTI will mobilize its price monitors and will ask LGUs to activate their Local Price Coordinating Councils, he added.

DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority acting chairman Don Artes also instructed Metro Manila mayors to post copies of EO 39 in all supermarkets nationwide, as they vowed to lead the information campaign in the capital region.

- Advertisement -

Abalos reminded market masters, government officials, and state employees of the possible penalties they may face if the order was violated.

On Friday, the President approved the DTI and DA’s recommendation to set a price ceiling of P41 per kilo for regular milled rice and P45 for well-milled grains, stemming from the surge in retail prices in local markets.

The price cap will take effect on Tuesday, September 5.

However, small rice sellers complained of possible bankruptcy following Malacañang’s mandate, even as a group of rice traders expressed readiness to cooperate with the government in implementing the EO.

The Federation of Free Farmers also said they were “very worried” about the order, as farmers from Pampanga and Sultan Kudarat already reported a P3 per kilogram decrease in palay prices.

But Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders Movement lead convenor Rowena Sadicon, through the Presidential Communication Office, said Saturday their group will be working with the government to provide consumers with affordable and quality rice.

Amid the President’s directive, AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee renewed his call to implement long-lasting government interventions to ease rising rice prices.

“This is a stopgap measure ordered by President Marcos to put a price ceiling on the price of our rice to ease the burden of our consumers who have been battered for a long time by the rising prices of commodities,” said Lee.

“But the government should be able to monitor its implementation because it may result in a decrease or more limited supply in the market. The private sector may hesitate to sell for little or no profit. It is difficult to get cheaper, but it will make it difficult to buy,” warned the Bicolano lawmaker.

DTI is also cooperating with the Philippine Competition Commission to augment the latter’s efforts against rice cartels manipulating the staple grain’s price and supply.

President Marcos also urged the public to send their complaints about possible hoarders to the government, and for those against the executive order to go through the government’s 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Center.

- Advertisement -


Popular Articles