MANILA – The country's economic team on Monday reiterated full support and endorsement of the President’s recent decision to impose a price cap on rice.
In a statement on Monday, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno also emphasized the importance of immediately implementing a comprehensive set of measures aimed at securing long-term stability within the rice market.
"Executive Order No. 39 was issued by the President as the chief executive and the concurrent secretary of the Department of Agriculture. EO 39 serves as a lifeline, extending much-needed relief to Filipinos grappling with the high rice prices,” Diokno said.
Under EO No. 39, the mandated price of regular milled rice is PHP41 per kilogram while well-milled rice is at PHP45 per kilogram.
Diokno said the economic team views EO 39 as an essential stop-gap measure, and underscored the importance of supplementing it with additional measures to achieve long-term rice price stability.
“We agree with the President that implementing a price cap on rice is the most prudent course of action at the moment to achieve two critical objectives: stabilizing rice prices and extending immediate support to our fellow countrymen," he said.
The imposition of a price cap on rice aims to address non-competitive practices by some market players and discourages hoarding, thereby reducing the price of rice.
Diokno, however, said EO 39 can be proven effective in the near term, but should not persist for an extended period.
Earlier, he said the President has directed the economic team to implement measures that will mitigate the negative impact of the price controls on rice retailers and farmers.
The Department of Finance (DOF) has proposed a comprehensive approach, including the temporary reduction of the 35 percent rice import tariff rates, both ASEAN and Most Favored Nation (MFN) rates, to zero percent or a maximum of 10 percent, to arrest the surge in rice prices.
The government also aims to curb non-competitive behavior in the rice industry by actively pursuing cases of hoarding, smuggling and economic sabotage. (PNA)