The Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), mayors of Metro Manila, and officials of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have forged an agreement to impose stricter price control measures on basic food commodities, particularly pork and vegetables being sold in Metro Manila public markets.
“We agreed on several strategies to bring down the prices of basic food items sold in Metro Manila public markets,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, during a virtual meeting with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, MMDA Chair Benhur Abalos, and several Metro Manila mayors held recently.
“First, we will strengthen the local price coordinating councils (LPCCs) for them to clamp down on wholesalers, traders, and retailers, who unreasonably jack up prices and take advantage of the current tight supply situation in pork and vegetables,” Dar explained.
“Second, from hereon we will require them to register so we will know who they are, and thereafter monitor them regularly,” the agriculture chief added.
“These twin measures will be done under the leadership of the respective mayors and market supervisors, in coordination with the DA and DTI,” the agriculture head stressed.
“It is an important thing to have a list of participants in the value chain.”
For his part, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said, “we at the DTI are also here to give support on the tasks given us, such as in price monitoring. 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. Further, it is an important thing to have a list of participants in the value chain.”
On the other hand, MMDA Chair Benhur Abalos, addressing the Metro Manila Mayors, said, “We are here to listen to secretaries Dar and Lopez to find ways to help the government.”
Then he committed, saying, “We at the MMDA and the Metro Manila Mayors will help in elevating the price monitoring, enforcement, and adjudication process.”
“We will help form a team to monitor food prices.”
For his part, Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano appreciated the DA and its Kadiwa marketing program, noting, “Thank you Secretary Dar for all your efforts. Nagbabagsak kayo sa amin ng bigas at gulay, sa mga maliliit na market dito sa Taguig. We will help form a team to monitor food prices.”
In all, Dar said other measures were discussed and agreed upon, namely:
- For Metro Manila mayors to identify areas where farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) can deliver and sell their products directly through the DA Kadiwa marketing program;
- Closely monitor major public market retailers, traders, and wholesalers for Price Act violations;
- Support the immediate and medium-term initiatives of the DA and DTI to stabilize food supply and prices;
- Recommend to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the imposition of a “price freeze” on selected food items like pork, chicken, fish, and vegetables. In particular, the DA is recommending a price ceiling of P270/kg for kasim pigue, P300/kg for liempo, and P160/kg for dressed chicken.
The President previously imposed a 60-day price freeze in November last year, following the declaration of a state of calamity in Luzon in the wake of Typhoon Ulysses.
It covered basic food items like rice, pork, chicken, beef, vegetables, root crops, sugar, fresh fruits, canned fish, and other marine products, among basic commodities.