The House Committee on Agriculture and Food said yesterday it is set to conduct a hearing on rising food prices, such as meat and vegetables, on Feb. 2.
Committee chair Mark Enverga said the hearing would be conducted upon the instructions of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
Enverga said the committee would be tasked to assess current data on the current supply and demand of all agricultural goods and to find a solution to the predicament of both suppliers and consumers.
Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano led the filing of a resolution asking the House of Representatives to lead efforts to control the soaring prices of basic goods.
House Resolution 1515 stressed the House must investigate this issue to determine what actions the government has taken to address the matter and what other policies and programs must be pursued to sustainably feed the country’s growing population in the new normal.
Among the price hikes highlighted in the resolution are chili, a kilo of which now costs between P600 and P800, and pork belly (liempo), worth around P400 in major public markets in the National Capital Region.
Cayetano said the increase in the prices of basic goods is “being felt deeply by millions of Filipinos who were rendered jobless, poor, and hungry by the pandemic and made homeless by recent typhoons and natural disasters.”
“With a third of Filipino households reporting hunger and a quarter of businesses wiped out last year, the upward trend in the prices of our basic goods is another tragedy in the making,” he said.
This month, the prices of most meats and vegetables have spiked by up to 66 percent, the Department of Agriculture’s price watch has reported.
The increasing prices of food products have already pushed the country’s inflation rate to 3.5 percent in December, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
The country’s monetary officials forecast the rate of price increases in January 2021 to stay between 3.3-4.1 percent, with the midpoint at 3.7 percent, an uptick from the previous month’s level.
In a Viber message to journalists, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said increases in the prices of fuel, meat, power rates, and excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and tobacco “contributed to upward price pressures during the month.” He, however, said these factors “could be partly offset by stable rice prices, lower prices of selected fish and vegetables as well as the continued appreciation of the peso.”*PNA