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.
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
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.
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)
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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
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