In a recent speech, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. once again pointed at smugglers and hoarders as the sole reason for the increase in rice prices, contradicting his earlier order that cited other global factors driving up costs.
Before leaving Manila on Sept. 4 to attend the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Marcos delivered a speech, saying:
“Sa lahat ng pag-aaral ng Department of Agriculture [DA] at lahat ng ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan, hindi namin makita ang magagandang dahilan kung bakit tataas ang presyo ng bigas ng ganito na lumalagpas ng singkwenta pesos ang bawat isang kilo. Ngayon, sa pag-aaral namin ang dahilan lamang dito ay talagang nandiyan ang mga smuggler at saka ang mga hoarder.”
(In all the studies conducted by the Department of Agriculture [DA] and other government agencies, we cannot see good reasons why the price of rice can increase up to 50 pesos per kilo. Now, our study showed that the only reason behind this is the smugglers and hoarders.)
Source: RTVMalacañang, Departure Statement for Participation to the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits 09/04/2023, Sept. 4, 2023, watch from 5:09 to 5:42
This contradicts Marcos’ Executive Order (EO) No. 39 which cited a report from the DA and the Department of Trade and Industry that “global events” have also influenced the price surge.
Events such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India’s ban on rice exportation and the unpredictability of oil prices in the world market were among the factors mentioned in the order, aside from hoarding and smuggling.
Signed on Aug. 31 by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, EO No. 39 imposes a price ceiling of P41 per kilogram of regular-milled and P45/kg for well-milled rice to counter the “alarming increase” in retail prices of the food staple.
The price cap took effect nationwide on Sept. 5 despite drawing flak from some lawmakers, economists and farmers’ groups.
A statement from the Foundation for Economic Freedom on Sept. 2 argued that a price cap would “harm consumers because it will drive supply away from the market, fuel a black market for rice, cause traders to cheat consumers.”
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Official Gazette of the Philippines, Executive Order No. 39, s. 2023, Aug. 31, 2023
Foundation for Economic Freedom, STATEMENT | Cut Tariff Rates for Rice Imports to Reduce Rice Prices, Not Mandate Price Caps, Sept. 2, 2023
Senators reaction to the mandate rice cap
- Senate of the Philippines, STATEMENT OF SENATOR RISA HONTIVEROS ON PBBM’s ORDER TO IMPOSE A PRICE CEILING ON RICE, Sept. 1, 2023
- Inquirer.net, Marcos’ order to set price cap on rice draws mixed reactions from senators, Sept. 1, 2023
- Manila Bulletin, Address cartels, hoarding instead of imposing rice price ceiling—senators, Sept. 1, 2023
- GMA News, Senators urge gov’t to arrest hoarders after imposition of rice price ceiling, Sept. 1, 2023
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)