Economic 'tokhang': Duterte, Arroyo aides clash over agri SRP

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2018 11:48 AM | Updated as of Oct 10 2018 12:19 PM

MANILA - The plan of President Rodrigo Duterte's agriculture chief to impose a cap on meat and rice prices drew criticism on Wednesday from an adviser of his ally, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Suggested retail prices (SRPs) for rice will be in place by late October, amid the rising costs of fuel and other commodities, said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

His agency and the trade department are also planning to impose SRPs for chicken and pork, which will be updated, respectively, every 3 days and 7 days.

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But for Arroyo's adviser, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, the government lacks the regulatory capacity to monitor if traders are complying with the price scheme.

"Ewan ko if economic tokhang will work... Mamo-monitor ba sa dami n'yan, Diyos ko, e ilang wet markets sa buong Pilipinas, ilang grocery," he told ANC.

"Iyung mga ganoong klaseng procedure, kasimple-simple ang gagawin, pahihirapan mo ang sarili mo," he added.

(I don't know if economic tokhang will work. Will it be possible to monitor that, my god, how many wet markets, grocery stores are there across the country? Those kinds of procedures can be simplified instead of creating difficulties for yourself.)

A "more efficient way" to lower the prices of pork and chicken is to lift the tariff on the importation of these meats for 6 months so supply could increase, he said.

He also noted that the government can also import rice from Vietnam at only P21 per kilo.

Salceda is Arroyo's special focal person for counter-inflation. He also served as economic adviser to Arroyo when she was president.