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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos Jr.’s claim that rice now at P25 per kilo statement needs context

WHAT WAS CLAIMED

The Marcos administration is getting closer to bringing down the price of rice to P20 per kilo now that the staple is sold at P25 per kilo.

OUR VERDICT

Needs context:

Based on the Department of Agriculture’s price watch, rice was sold at P38-50 per kilo in public markets in Metro Manila. The P25 per kilo rice is available only in Kadiwa ng Pasko caravan stores which operate in limited areas at designated dates and time in Metro Manila and in the provinces of Oriental Mindoro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao de Oro.

Dec 2, 2022

VERA Files

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Dec. 1 that his administration is getting closer to his goal of bringing down the price of rice to P20 per kilo now that the staple is sold at P25 per kilo.

This needs context.

STATEMENT

In a speech at the opening of a Kadiwa ng Pasko Caravan in Quezon City, Marcos said:

Bukod pa roon ay palapit na nang palapit tayo sa presyo na aking pinapangarap para sa bigas, especially dahil naibibili na natin ng 25 pesos… ubos kaagad iyan. Siguradong ‘yan ang unang nauubos, eh. Kaya’t gagawin natin itong national program na, hindi lamang sa mga LGU.

(Aside from this, we’re getting closer to the price I dreamed of for rice, especially since we can now buy this for 25 pesos…. that will be sold quickly. I’m sure it will be the first to be sold out. This is why we must make this (Kadiwa ng Pasko Caravan) a national program, not just for the LGUs.)

 

Source: RTVMalacañang official Facebook page, Kadiwa ng Pasko Caravan in Quezon City, Dec. 1, 2022, watch from 29:02 – 29:31

FACT

According to the Department of Agriculture’s price watch on the same day, rice was sold at P38-50 per kilo in public markets in Metro Manila.

Marcos was referring to the selling price of the National Food Authority (NFA) for local  well-milled rice.

The Kadiwa ng Pasko caravan is a project of  the Office of the President and the DA, which Marcos concurrently heads. It is aimed at addressing rising inflation by providing locally sourced goods at lower prices during the holiday season.

The Kadiwa ng Pasko caravan stores operate in limited areas at designated dates and time. Some can be found in Metro Manila. There are also stores in Oriental Mindoro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao de Oro. Marcos voiced his intent to continue the project beyond the holiday season.

The project is named after the Kadiwa rolling stores project of the President’s father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. These Kadiwa mobile stores provided rice, milk, eggs, and other basic commodities at lower prices. However, due to rising foreign debt obligations and the devaluation of the peso, commodity prices skyrocketed and hoarding became commonplace.

To revive the economy, the Marcos Sr. administration shut down the program in 1985 as its target market preferred to buy goods from local sari-sari stores. (Read Marcos propaganda in a time of plague)

As of press time, government agencies and wholesalers may purchase rice from the NFA at P25 per kilo. The NFA follows a “buy high, sell low” formula, where it purchases palay from local farmers at a set support price, mills these to rice with the help of local millers, and sells the rice at a loss.

The NFA lost its ability to regulate imports in 2019 after former president Rodrigo Duterte signed the Rice Tariffication Act, lifting quantitative restrictions on bringing in grain from abroad.

Today, the NFA is responsible for maintaining a buffer emergency stock for calamities.

One of Marcos’ key campaign promises in the 2022 presidential polls was to lower the price of rice to P20 per kilo. However, farmers and retailers alike believe that achieving this will be a long process. (Listen: Saan aabot ang bente pesos mo? Ang pangako ni Marcos Jr., isang kilong bigas)

 

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form.

 

Sources

RTVMalacañang official Facebook page, Kadiwa ng Pasko Caravan in Quezon City, Dec. 1, 2022

National Food Authority, Buying/Selling Price, accessed on Dec. 1, 2022

Department of Agriculture, Prevailing Retail Prices of Select Agri-Fishery Commodities at NCR Markets – Thursday, December 1, 2022, Dec. 1, 2022

Office of the Press Secretary official Facebook page, Pinangunahan ni Pangulong Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ang pagbubukas ng isang ‘Kadiwa ng Pasko’ caravan site, Dec. 1, 2022

Ramon Clarete, Options for Philippine Food Authority Reforms, 2008

Department of Agriculture, DA Bulletin No. 1 on Rice: Understanding the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) or RA 11203, Sept. 10, 2019

National Food Authority, About Us, accessed on Dec. 1, 2022

Official Gazette, Republic Act (RA) 11203, Feb. 14, 2019

 

(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.)

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