RETAIL PRICES of well-milled rice were higher during the March 15-17 price monitoring period, which the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) calls the second phase of the month.

Price increases of P0.25 to P5.50 per kilogram were noted in five key trading centers monitored by the PSA compared with March 1-5, or the first phase of March.

The PSA reported that prices rose P0.25 to P38.50 in Pagadian City, P0.26 to P39.19 in Butuan City, P0.50 to P52 in Tacloban City, P1.60 to P42.10 in Kidapawan City, and P5.50 to P44.50 in Cabanatuan City.

Prices fell P0.06 to P42.91 in the National Capital Region (NCR) and P0.13 to P42.25 in Baguio City.

The retail price of bone-in pork declined by P3.05 to P10.00 per kilo in four regional centers.

Prices dropped P3.05 to P307.83 in NCR, P4.52 to P251.35 in Butuan City, P10 to P225 in Cebu City, and P10 to P280 in Cabanatuan City.

Prices rose P5 to P259.50 in Iloilo City and P25 to P295 in Kidapawan City.

In a separate report, the PSA said that the national average farmgate price of palay, or unmilled rice, fell 1.6% month on month to P17.43 in March.

In the year to date, the average farmgate price rose 1.9% year on year. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson