President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. urges the public to report retailers who are selling rice at excessively high prices beyond the established price ceilings to relevant government agencies as well as the police.
He stated during his trip to Palawan on Friday that it’s important for rice prices to stay within the boundaries set by his administration to alleviate concerns about the escalation in their retail prices in the market.
“The price ceilings that I ordered in the EO that I signed yesterday [should be enforced] to make sure the prices stay within the limits that we have prescribed,” President Marcos said.
“I would like to encourage anyone who finds that [individuals] or retailers are selling in an amount they price ceilinged, ireport ninyo sa pulis, ireport ninyo sa DA doon sa lugar ninyo, ireport ninyo sa local government—para makita po namin at tiyakin na hindi lalampas doon sa ating presyo na nilagay,” he added.
Price ceilings are specified under Executive Order 39, which he signed on August 31, based on recommendations from the agriculture and trade and industry departments. The directive requires that the maximum price limit for regular milled rice be set at P41 per kilo, while well-milled rice is capped at P45 per kilo.
He said that within the NCR, the situation isn’t “so bad” in comparison to areas outside Metro Manila.
President Marcos also implied that while their attention is primarily on the NCR, they will also proactively extend their efforts to address the provinces, where rice prices are also on the rise.
In Palawan, Board Member Ryan Maminta revealed during a session at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that in Narra, a significant rice and grain supplier, the least expensive kilogram of rice currently carries a price tag of 50 pesos.
He explained that the starting price of palay when it is brought to the farm gate is around P21 to P22. When the expenses associated with milling are taken into account, this would lead to a rise in the final retail price.
“Alarming ito in the sense na marami nang nagsara na retail stores. Dati P40, tapos ngayon P50 per kilo na, at wala pang National Food Authority (NFA) rice kaya obligadong bumili ng P50,” Maminta said.
Maminta also added that while they don’t necessarily want purchasing prices to decrease, it would be beneficial if production costs could be reduced.
The increase in retail prices is attributed to concerning factors, including illegal price manipulation involving actions like hoarding by opportunistic traders and collaboration among industry groups during the lean harvest phase.