NOT even a price freeze was able to stop the prices of pork chicken, beef and vegetables from going up and for that reason the Department of Agriculture (DA) has sought for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the draft executive order imposing price caps on the commodities in the market.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary “Manong” William Dar said a proposed EO is now with the Office of the Executive Secretary. The draft EO proposes price ceilings on food items
· P270 per kilogram (/kg.) for kasim/pigue
· P300/kg. for liempo
· P160/kg. for dressed chicken.
Dar said the proposed EO will hopefully be signed within the week.
From the time the President signs the proposed price ceiling, the price cap would have to be maintained in the National Capital Region (NCR) for another 60 days.
“The calamity that we can identify na there is basis for a price ceiling towards price freeze is the African swine fever calamity… ‘Yun ang pananaw ng Department of Agriculture kasi wala pang bakuna,” Dar said when asked if the country is in a state of calamity.
The DA first confirmed the presence of the ASF in the Philippines in September 2019. It blamed the outbreak mainly on imports from China and the practice of swill feeding.
Monitoring from the DA shows that as of January 22, the prevailing prices of pork ham (kasim) were recorded at P360/kg.; pork belly at P400.kg.; and whole chicken at 170.00/kg.
DA on November 27, 2020 issued a new set of suggested retail prices (SRP) for basic agricultural goods, scheduled to last for two months — pork kasim/pigue at P260/kg.; liempo at P290/kg.; and whole chicken at P140/kg.
“Ang magbabago itong nakatutok kami sa traders at wholesalers at mayroon na ring economic intelligence, mayroon na ring Philippine Competition Commission investigation, so todo-todo po ito whole of nation approach na,” Dar said.
“So ito magbabago at ito ay hindi lang sa local ang pinaparating natin, ‘yung mga additional na requirements ay galing import,” he added, noting that the DA is looking to increase the minimum access volume (MAV) of pork this year.
Dar said the MAV for pork this year is expected at 54,000 metric tons, which the department is planning to triple to 162,000 metric tons this year.