The government is lifting the price caps on rice, both for the regular milled rice and well-milled rice, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced on Wednesday, saying that the move is timely as the administration carries out various measures to shield the poor and the most vulnerable.
“I think it’s the appropriate time since namimigay tayo ng mga bigas. Yes, we are, as of today, we are lifting the price caps on rice, both for the regular milled rice and for the well-milled rice,” President Marcos said in an interview when asked about his decision on the recommendation to remove the prices cap.
“So, tinatanggal na natin ‘yung mga control pero hindi ibig sabihin basta’t ganun na lang dahil kailangan pa rin natin ayusin ang agricultural sector. Kailangan pa rin natin tulungan ang mga pinakamahirap, pinakagutom para kahit papaano makaahon sila.”
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other entities met with the President during a Palace sectoral meeting on Tuesday to discuss the present indicators to lift price cap on rice.
*The decreasing rice prices in the domestic market, increasing supply of rice and favorable external factors such as decreasing prices of rice in the global market were among the indicators that warranted the lifting of the price cap.*
The President promised to continue providing assistance that the government has been extending to farmers and to the most underprivileged families.
While the government cannot control the market, the President said his administration will continue carrying out such programs to cushion the impact of food commodity increases to the poor and the most vulnerable, as well as identify the sectors that are bearing the brunt of the price movements.
On the production side, Marcos said the government will continue to support the agriculture sector and strengthen the country’s value chain “because we are still talking about production.”
“Ang Rice Tariffication Law, mayroong naka-mandate doon na P10 billion every year for the RCEF. Hindi RCEP, ‘yung RCEF (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund), ‘yung namimigay ng mga gamit, mga tractor, mga dryer, mga harvester, et cetera. Ang ginawa natin para matulungan pa ‘yung ating mga farmer, ‘yung lampas doon sa P10 billion nangongolekta ang rice tariffication,” he said.
“So, the RCEF from only the expenditure of 10 billion, it will now be 22 billion in that regard para bumilis nga talaga ang pagtulong sa ating mga farmer.”
The P10 billion was immediately appropriated for farm machineries and farmers’ processing, while the excess collection, which is more than P12 billion this year will be allocated for farmers and fisherfolks, according to the President.
That amount will be spent for buying general dryers for farmers and cold storage for the fishermen.
To address increasing rice prices in Metro Manila, the President announced that he has instructed House Speaker Martin Romualdez initiate an activity for the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Kaya’t nagbubuo ang House of Representatives ng isang programa na para sa mga NCR congressmen. There are 33 NCR congressmen. Ngayon, ang gagawin is the 33 NCR congressmen will be giving the assistance na — magbibigay tayo ng bigas doon sa iba’t ibang area dito sa Metro Manila,” he explained.
“So, that is another measure that we are undertaking para naman hindi basta’t pinabayaan na, basta’t maayos na ‘yung price cap, alisin na lang natin, tapos na. Hindi pa tapos ‘to. Marami, marami pa tayong ginagawa para tiyakin na ma-maintain nga natin ang presyo.” | PND
Photo by YUMMIE DINGDING