MANILA, Philippines - The call for President Aquino to impose price ceilings on rice, garlic and other basic and prime commodities will have to be studied first as the Chief Executive has just ordered an investigation into hoarding, profiteering and cartel-like activities that could be behind the price hikes, Malacañang said yesterday.
Aquino himself said there is no shortage in the supply of these products, as he pointed out that there are people who are manipulating the prices of these goods.
“The last time a meeting was held on the price of garlic, price ceiling was not discussed as the President ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to determine if there is hoarding or price manipulation,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
Valte said the crackdown continues on illegal trade practices such as the repacking and passing off NFA rice as commercial rice.
She said there is no single body or agency tasked to deal with the problem, as she underscored the role of each government agency on this matter.
She said the NBI and the Philippine National Police, being the law enforcement agencies, would arrest violators while the Department of Justice would handle the prosecution.
“Price monitoring is for the Department of Trade and Industry. In terms of supply of agricultural products, that would be the Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority for the rice supply.” Valte said.
The Palace official said the agencies should really work together to stop these incidents of hoarding and price manipulation.
Earlier, Bayan Muna party-list Rep, Neri Colmenares filed a petition for the government to impose price ceilings on rice, garlic and other basic and prime commodities as prices of these products continued to rise. – With Dino Balabo