Price cap on rice to take effect Sept. 5

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — The executive order (EO) setting a nationwide price ceiling on rice will take effect on Tuesday, Sept. 5, Malacañang said.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) clarified this on Friday, hours after the Palace announced EO No. 39 which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed on Aug. 31.

The directive 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.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) – headed by Marcos – and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recommended the price caps after observing a surge in retail prices of the basic commodity, "which resulted in a considerable economic strain on Filipinos."

“President Marcos has directed the DA and the DTI to jointly monitor the prices of rice by visiting wet markets, supermarkets, warehouses and storage areas to effectively implement the order and to prevent hoarding, profiteering and other illegal activities," the PCO said.

The OES also said any inquiry or complaint about the executive order may be coursed through the government's 8888 Citizens' Complaint Center.

Based on the DA's monitoring of per-kilo market prices in Metro Manila as of Aug. 30, local well-milled rice costs up to ₱56, while imported rice costs up to ₱52. Local regular milled rice, meanwhile, is sold for up to ₱55, while imported regular milled rice is sold for up to ₱43.

Some groups and lawmakers earlier criticized the new EO, saying the price caps will not work in the long run.

The Federation of Free Farmers said the spike in prices is caused by "the extremely limited supply of rice, aggravated by elevated prices of imported rice."

Senator Risa Hontiveros also said if there are hoarders jacking up the prices, then the government should catch them. However, she added that even without hoarders, the prices of rice will still go up because of the lack of government subsidy for fertilizers, as well as insurance for farmers affected by flooding, among other reasons.