Antirust chief warns price caps an 'inefficient response' to crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2021 06:33 PM

Pork sellers sell frozen stock at the Kalentong Market in Mandaluyong City on February 9, 2021, after the government enforced a price cap on the said meat amid supply woes. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The head of the country's anti-trust body warned the government on the use of price ceilings, saying it can be an "inefficient response" to a crisis in the longer term.

Arsenio Balisacan, chairman of the Philippine Competition Commission, said in a forum on Monday the government should be careful about putting price caps on commodities as this can be harmful to the market.

"It is very important that these are monitored closely and they are not a permanent fixture of the market, because eventually, those are quite inefficient responses to the crisis," Balisacan said in the competition forum on Monday.

Last Feb. 1, President Rodrigo Dutere ordered a 60-day price cap on pork and chicken in Metro Manila following a spike in the prices of these food items.

Balisacan said competition must be maintained in the agriculture sector. However, he also said that right now the government has no choice but to intervene in the market, and allow for more importation. 

The rise in pork and chicken prices was attributed to supply shortages caused by the outbreak of African swine fever and the financial difficulties of poultry raisers.

Report from Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

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