Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said his office and the Department of Agriculture are now working out the suggested retail price (SRP) for imported pork in groceries and supermarkets.
In a Palace briefing yesterday, Lopez said the SRP of imported pork in groceries and supermarkets will be lower than the price ceiling set for locally sourced pork in wet markets.
“Knowing that the landed cost for imported pork is lower than farm-gate price here, our suggestion is lower SRP or price ceiling for imported pork that will be sold in the supermarkets,” he said in Filipino.
He said that they will also require labeling of outsourced pork as imported, to distinguish the SRP for the commodity.
“We are now computing the SRP jointly with the DA. What is important is that consumers will have options. If they want cheaper meat, they can go to groceries and supermarkets, where there is SRP,” he said, adding that they will finalize the price cap on imported pork within this week.
Aside from lower landed cost of imported products, Lopez said groceries and supermarkets have lesser traders in between the supply chain – a reason for these establishments to implement the SRP for pork.
He added they have received reports on price manipulation on pork meat.
The National Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and the National Security Council, along with DA and DTI, are verifying these reports, Lopez said.
Meanwhile, Samahan ng Industriya at Agrikultura (Sinag) chairperson, Rosendo So, said in the same briefing that the group welcomes the move to have SRP on imported pork sold in groceries and supermarkets.
So, however, added that the tariff for imported pork should stay at 40 percent as they can still compete in the domestic market even at that tariff rate.
He said that at 40 percent tariff, landed cost for imported pork is at P117.87 per kilogram.
The retail price for imported prime cut pork in groceries and supermarkets should be around P152.87 per kilo, So said.
This is lower than landed prices of pork from local hog raisers as computed by the DA.
DA Secretary William Dar said the landed price of pork from Mindanao to Manila is at P165 per kilo, and P170 per kilo for pork coming from the Visayas, Region 4-B, and Region 5.
However, So said groceries and supermarkets are selling imported pork at P350 to P400 per kilo.
He urged the government to strengthen its monitoring of the prices of pork in groceries and supermarkets.
GO AFTER PROFITEERS
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra already directed the NBI to investigate groups or individuals profiteering and hoarding agricultural products, including pork.
Under Department Order No. 029, dated Feb. 8, the NBI through, officer-in-charge Eric Distor, has been “directed and granted authority to conduct an investigation and case build-up” on alleged violations of Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act.
Guevarra cited possible violations of the penal laws against monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade.
He directed Distor to, if evidence warrants, file appropriate charges “specifically on the existence and operation of certain groups allegedly manipulating the supply and price of pork and other basic foodstuff.”
Distor has been directed to submit a report within a month.
Last week, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said President Rodrigo Duterte approved during the 51st Cabinet meeting on Feb. 3 the DA’s recommendation to create a sub-task group on economic intelligence to go after smugglers, profiteers, and hoarders of agricultural products. Nograles said the DA and the DTI will lead the subtask force, with the DOJ, Department of the Interior and Local Government, the NBI, PNP, Bureau of Customs, Philippine Competition Commission, the National Security Council, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency as members.*PNA