On the day of the effectivity of the price cap on rice on September 5, 2023 implementing agencies in the Ilocos region conducted simultaneous monitoring in different public markets to guarantee the compliance of vendors with the mandated price ceiling signed last week.

Based on Executive Order No. 39, the price cap for regular milled rice shall be P41.00 per kilogram, while well-milled rice is P45.00.

In La Union and Pangasinan, most rice traders were compliant with the price cap implementation. Others, however, are still selling above the price ceiling and are asking for consideration and a grace period to sell their old stocks of rice which they bought at a high cost. They explained that selling their rice goods at the suggested price ceiling would incur them significant income loss.

As such, the Department of Agriculture, together with the Department of Trade and Industry, in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government Unit are tasked to come up with list of affected rice retailers for the corresponding assistance/interventions being readied through DA, DTI, DILG and DSWD to cover their income losses.

Prior to the EO’s issuance, the price of local well-milled and regular milled rice in public markets surged up to P50.00 to P54.00 per kilogram in the Ilocos region, double its farmgate price.

To effectively implement the mandate, members of the Bantay Presyo Task Force have started their monitoring activities daily, in coordination with the market administrators, to ensure strict compliance by the rice retailers to the EO. Non-compliance to the order corresponds to penalties as provided for under the Price Act where amount of fine is based on percentage of excess in prescribed price or a fine of P5,000 to P1 million for retailers while P40,000 up to P1 million for wholesalers/Distributor. Violators may also face imprisonment of 1 year up to 10 years.

On Wednesday, DA Regional Executive Director Annie Q. Bares and Department of Trade and Industry Regional Director Grace Falgui-Baluyan both led the surveillance of rice stalls in San Fernando and Agoo, La Union markets, respectively. Other members of the Bantay Presyo Task Force, together with the Philippine National Police, are also being deployed in the other three provinces of the region to monitor compliance of EO 39.