September 11, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 217 views

SEVERAL House leaders have lauded President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. and Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez for their unwavering efforts in driving down the cost of rice in the Philippines, an achievement that significantly contributed to the subsequent drop in global rice prices.

Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, chairman the House committee on agriculture and food, said the President’s decision to impose price ceiling on rice, complemented by a series of warehouse inspections on suspected rice hoarders carried out by authorities, including Speaker Romualdez, has helped stabilize the rice market despite global market uncertainties.

“President Marcos and Speaker Romualdez have showcased exemplary leadership and visionary strategies in tackling the intricate matter of rice pricing. Their decisive actions, notably the implementation of a price ceiling on rice, have been instrumental in upholding stability in this vital commodity, even amidst the turbulent tides of the global market,” Enverga, a stalwart of the

Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said.

According to recent reports, Vietnam’s rice prices experienced a notable decline over two consecutive days last week, attributed to the Philippines’ decision to cancel rice orders, driven by concerns about potential losses resulting from the implementation of rice price ceilings within the country.

The price of Vietnam’s 5 percent broken rice experienced a notable decrease of 2.3 percent from September 5 to September 7, reaching $628 per ton. This drop marks the most substantial price decline since India’s ban on non-basmati white rice exports.

“Recognizing the importance of rice as a staple food for the Filipino population, President Marcos and Speaker Romualdez took decisive action to mitigate rising rice prices. The decision to impose a price ceiling was a well-calculated move aimed at protecting the interests of consumers and Filipino rice farmers alike,” Enverga said.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House ways and means committee, said Marcos’ imposition of the price ceiling and subsequent raids conducted by Speaker Martin Romualdez, brought some sanity back to the trading of rice.

Salceda said the India export ban and the specter of an El Nino episode that could hurt local harvest drove rice prices to unreasonable levels, especially with the sufficient supply of the grain domestically.

“The cap ended the rice price spike. It is now clear that soaring cost of the grain is artificial, driven by market speculation and rice traders driven by greed. Now, we have to manage our rice inventory better to avoid fueling the speculation here and in the global rice market,” Salceda stressed.

He said the commitment of President Marcos and Speaker Romualdez to address the concerns of the public is evident in their commitment to ensuring affordable and accessible food for all Filipinos, adding that their actions have “alleviated economic pressures on households and have bolstered the livelihoods of rice farmers.”

“The global market shift following their intervention is a testament to their ability to navigate complex economic landscapes. It highlights the Philippines’ capacity to influence and contribute positively to international food markets,” Salceda pointed out.

Previously, Speaker Romualdez highlighted that the substantial reduction in global rice prices can be attributed to President Marcos’ recent Executive Order (EO) No. 39, which implemented nationwide price ceilings on rice.

Data from US-based Markets Insider showed the world market price for rice has seen a remarkable 21 percent decrease, dropping from $384 per metric ton in July to $332.4 per metric ton this month.

Romualdez, who leads the 311-member House of Representatives, maintained that the decline in global rice prices resulted from widespread cancellations of imported rice orders by rice traders and importers in response to the newly imposed price ceilings.

The Speaker asserted that the decision by Malacañang to institute a price cap was not only justified but also the most effective means of discouraging hoarders and price manipulators from perpetuating their illicit activities.