Palace tackles proposed price cap on pork, other food products

President Rodrigo Duterte will act on the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) proposal to impose a price ceiling on pork and other food products in a bid to temper the soaring retail prices of farm commodities, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

“Hintayin na lang po natin ang desisyon (Let’s just await the decision [of the President]),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual Palace press briefing.

The DA, along with other government agencies and Metro Manila mayors, have agreed to recommend to Duterte to impose stricter price measures on food items such as pork, chicken, fish, and vegetables.

The recommendation came, as consumers continue to bear the brunt of the rising cost of food amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

On Jan. 21, Agriculture Secretary William Dar expressed hope that Duterte will issue an executive order imposing a price cap on the select food items in public markets.

Roque said the President needs time to decide on the proposal.

“It was a recommendation made by the authorized Cabinet secretary and it’s a matter of time po before the President acts on it,” he said.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s price monitoring report, the prices of meat and vegetables this month rose by 50 to 275 percent compared to January last year.

The DA, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and Metro Manila Mayors have signed a resolution seeking Duterte’s go signal to impose a price cap on pork at PHP270 per kilogram for kasim pigue and PHP300 per kilo for liempo.

They also suggested a price ceiling of PHP160 for dressed chicken.

The last time a price freeze was imposed was in November last year, following the declaration of a state of calamity in Luzon in the wake of Typhoon Ulysses. The price freeze covers basic food items like rice, pork, chicken, beef, vegetables, root crops, sugar, fresh fruits, canned fish, and other marine products, among basic commodities. 

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