Price cap for rice could continue until October

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — The price cap set for rice could be extended until October.

Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said the recommendation was made to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday. There is no word yet if Marcos has approved the proposal.

The price ceiling could stay even with the onset of harvest season or until retail prices of the grain settles at ₱38 per kilogram, and could stay as long as it remains helpful to consumers.

Panganiban said the price cap could stay as long as it remains helpful to consumers

"Yung price cap naman at least ₱41, ₱45 will be the basis. It should not be going up as far as the price of rice is concerned," Domingo said in an ambush interview on Thursday.

[Translation: The price cap is at least ₱41, ₱45 -- it will be the basis. It should not be going up as far as the price of rice is concerned.]

The price cap went into effect on Sept. 5, and the initial plan was to lift it by the end of the month.

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Cash assistance was distributed to small-scale rice retails who stood to lose from the price cap.

However, no decision has been made yet on whether they will receive more subsidy should the price ceiling be extended.

"Depende kay (Social Welfare Sec.) Rex Gatchalian, depende rin kay presidente," he said.

[Translation: It will be up to Rex Gatchalian as well as the president.]

National Economic and Development Authority chief Arsenio Balisacan earlier said he believes the price cap could be lifted very soon given that the harvest season peaks in October.

"The President made it clear that these price caps are temporary so we’re looking at the indicators that he would need to see to help inform the decision," Balisacan said on Thursday.

The NEDA chief said the goal is to contain inflation and cushion its impact on the poorest sectors. More subsidies are forthcoming, he added.

"What we want to avoid is the inflation associated with rising prices," Balisacan said. "But we are assuring our public that we will introduce, intensify other tools like rice subsidy, food stamps to assist or help our low-income households in coping with the price increase.”

CNN Philippines' Currie Cator and Lois Calderon contributed to this story.