Alarmed by the sudden spike in food prices recently, Senator Kiko Pangilinan called on the government to revisit the supply food chain to focus on logistics and transport.
“Merong hindi tama sa pagtaas ng presyo ng pagkain. May demand at may supply. Nagugutom ang mga kababayan natin. Sobra-sobra ang ani ng ating mga magsasaka. Mukhang sa transport o pagbyahe nagkakatalo (There’s something wrong in the food price hikes. There’s demand and there’s supply. Our people are going hungry. Our farmers are producing more. Transport seems to be the problem),” Pangilinan said.
“Kailangang ibaba ang presyo ng pagkain. At pwede naman itong gawin kung tama at husto ang byahe (The prices of food must go down. And this can be done with proper and enough transport),” said the former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.
Price monitoring reports from the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed that a number of agricultural products have increased by as much as P70 per kilo for red onions, P40 per kilo for galunggong (round scad), and P10 per kilo for whole chicken, among others.
Rice prices also increased by P2 per kilo, even as palay is reportedly selling for a low of P12 per kilo in certain provinces.
“Shorten the distance between consumer and producer especially during this pandemic when going out of the house is still dangerous.”
“Ilapit sa mga mamimili ang pagkain lalo na ngayong pandemya at delikado pa rin ang paglabas ng bahay (Shorten the distance between consumer and producer especially during this pandemic when going out of the house is still dangerous),” the veteran legislator stressed.
“May mga LGU na nagsasagawa ng community markets o mobile markets at mga market on wheels kung saan sila mismo ang nagsusundo ng mga paninda mula sa mga magsasaka at sila na rin ang nagbebenta o naglalapit sa mga mamimili. Malaking tulong ito at bawas sa patong sa presyo (Some LGUs are organizing community or mobile markets and markets on wheels with LGUs themselves fetching from the farmers the food products that they themselves sell or make available to their constituents. This is a big help in lowering food prices),” the seasoned lawmaker added.
Provisions under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act allows LGUs to procure agricultural products directly from farmers and fisher folk or agricultural cooperatives and associations.
“Direct food purchase by LGUs from farmers and cooperatives has resulted in over P6 billion in sales, a first in Philippine history.”
This direct food purchase by LGUs from farmers and cooperatives has resulted in over P6 billion in sales, a first in Philippine history, according to the DA.
As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on Filipinos’ lives and livelihood, the senator said everyone, especially the government, must focus on the basics of food and health.
“Ngayong hirap ang buhay, mahalaga ang bawat piso. Kwento nga ng isang kakilala ko na may maliit na grocery, marami ang puro coins ang pinambabayad sa kanya, kaya may isa siyang tauhan na nagbibilang lang ng coins. Ganyan kahirap ang buhay ngayon (Times are really tough and every peso counts. A small-grocery owner I know told me that people are using coins to buy food that’s why she’s assigned one person to just count the coins. Times are really tough),” he said.
“Dapat bigyang pansin ito at ang kita ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda (We should pay attention to this and the incomes of our farmers and fisher folk). We will surely bring this up during the DA’s budget deliberations,” Pangilinan concluded.