MANILA, Philippines – Aside from rice, garlic and ginger, government is now also keeping an eye on the prices of other commodities amid fears these too may rise.
“Ayon kay Undersecretary Vic Dimagiba ng DTI, pati 'yung presyo ng baboy, 'yung karne, 'yung mga daily food staples ay mino-monitor na rin nila para mapigilan 'yung maaaring pagsasamantala,” said Communication Secretary Sonny Coloma.
Coloma was still hard pressed to explain the spikes in the prices of rice, garlic and ginger even as he assured the stability of the supply of garlic.
"On the supply of garlic, based on monitoring done by the Department of Agriculture, as of March this year, the supply of locally produced garlic has reached 8,308 metric tons, which, according to them, is more than adequate to meet the current levels of demand…They are conducting monitoring and surveillance to be able to find out if the reported shortage is artificial or if there are manipulative practices that are being committed," he said.
So far government has yet to identify areas where there maybe hoarding of products.
"Wala pa naman. Kaya nga magpupulong mamaya 'yung National Price Coordinating Council with representatives of the various sectors that I mentioned to be able to size up the situation based on the actual realities on the ground,” said Coloma.
The National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) was scheduled to meet on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the food supply situation and concrete actions to protect the public from unreasonably high prices.
The NPCC is made up of DTI, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Energy (DOE), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), one representative from the consumers' sector, representative from the agricultural producers' sector, representative from the trading sector, and a representative from the manufacturers' sector.
Coloma reiterated that government through the NPCC is considering releasing suggested retail prices for agricultural products.
"Magpupulong 'yung National Price Coordinating Council ngayong hapon. Isa 'yan doon sa mga opsyon na kanilang pag-aaralan. Kukunin muna ng konsehong ito ang mga suhestiyon ng iba't ibang sektor, lalong-lalo na diyan sa mga pinagtutuunan ng pansin na mga basic food items. Halimbawa, tungkol sa asukal, mayroong rekomendasyon diyan 'yung SRA (Sugar Regulatory Administration), doon naman sa iba ay Department of Agriculture. Maliban doon sa bigas, National Food Authority 'yan, na ngayon ay nasa ilalim na ng Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization,” he said.