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Rising prices

Faced with the soaring price of food products, government has finally vowed relief by imposing stricter measures on retailers and a possible 60-day price freeze on pork, chicken, fish and vegetables in Metro Manila.

Metro Manila mayors have signed an agreement with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to adopt a unified set of measures to arrest high prices of produce in public markets.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said over the weekend among the agreed strategies is the strengthening of the local price coordinating councils in a bid to clamp down on overpricing by wholesalers, traders and retailers. The DA is also pushing for a price ceiling of P270 per kilogram of pork kasim, P300/kg for pork liempo, and P160/kg for dressed chicken. Once approved by the President, a price freeze will be in effect for the next 60 days.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the DTI will focus and improve on its price monitoring task. “We hope that we can come up with a clear price list and corresponding price control, for the guidance and compliance of traders and retailers. It is an important thing to have a list of participants in the value chain,” he said.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. gave assurance that Metro Manila mayors will help in the price monitoring, enforcement and adjudication process.

The sky high prices of pork are due to limited supply as the African swine fever still remains a challenge in the country, even worsening further after the disease has crept into the Visayas. The low supply of vegetables is attributed to past typhoons that wrought massive damage to farms in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

The situation is not as bad in the provinces but with prices of produce undeniably on the uptrend, a proactive response from local and provincial government would be appreciated by Negrenses already feeling the pinch of the economic recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that is exacerbated by one of the more lackluster government responses in the planet. Any and all efforts to prevent food prices from spiraling out of control and affecting even more already distressed households will be appreciated.*

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