Gov’t warns of stricter rice price cap implementation in coming days

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 5) — Retailers who failed to comply with the executive order (EO) mandating price ceilings on rice during the first day of its implementation will not yet be penalized, the government said on Tuesday.

It warned, however, that it will be stricter in the coming days.

“The DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) said they will not apprehend and penalize retailers who have not yet complied with the EO No. 39 on the first day of its implementation,” the Department of Agriculture said in a statement.

EO No. 39, which took effect on Tuesday, states that regular milled rice may only be sold for up to ₱41 per kilo, while the price ceiling on well-milled rice is at ₱45 per kilo.

This means small businesses which bought rice at higher prices are seen to operate at a loss.

While non-compliant businesses will be let off for now, DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said authorities will not be as lenient moving forward.

“Sa mga susunod na araw magiging istrikto tayo, pero sa ngayon makiisa tayo [In the coming days, we’ll be strict, but for now, let's understand first],” Abalos said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) earlier said it is set to subsidize small-scale rice retailers affected by the price cap.

READ: DSWD to subsidize small-scale rice retailers affected by price cap

According to DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, qualified recipients of the financial aid could receive a maximum of ₱15,000.

He added that House Speaker Martin Romualdez has vowed to raise another ₱2 billion to augment the budget for the cash aid.