Eighty percent of all rice retailers in the province of Pangasinan have complied with the price cap on regular and well-milled rice set by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. through Executive Order (EO) 39. Based on monitoring by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture, among other agencies here, the compliance rate is a 10 percent increase from 70 percent when EO 39 took effect on Sept. 5. DTI Pangasinan provincial director Natalia Dalaten, at a forum hosted by the Philippine Information Agency on Monday, said non-compliant rice retailers were told to comply but most just opted to sell premium rice instead. Violators of the price ceiling can be penalized as provided in Sections 15 and 16 under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act. Penalties include imprisonment of up to 10 years and substantial fines ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP1 million. Dalaten said they are positive that many more will comply soon. He also assured consumers of sufficient rice supply since harvest season has begun in some areas. Meanwhile, Dalaten added that some 289 compliant rice retailers in the province have been listed as new beneficiaries of the financial subsidy worth PHP15,000 each. 'They are certified and verified rice retailers who are compliant with the EO. We are still waiting for the other local government units for their list,' she said. She added that the beneficiaries were registered rice retailers with a mayor's permit, and microenterprises with an asset size below PHP3 million. The DTI Pangasinan released the payout to the first 23 beneficiaries of the subsidy last week. Seven were from Dagupan City, six from Alaminos City, and 10 from San Carlos City. Dalaten urged other rice retailers to comply and avail of the subsidy from the national government

Source: Philippines News Agency

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