QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol gathered on Thursday, May 31, various agriculture stakeholders to discuss reports of an increase in prices of basic goods.
Based on their discussions, Piñol said there is actually no reason for a price hike in basic crops and goods even with the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Citing farm producers, Piñol said it is unreasonable for market vendors to increase their prices when they buy from farmers and producers at a cheaper price.
The Secretary added that there is no shortage of supply of fish, vegetables and basic farm products to justify a price increase. Also, based on the agency’s calculation, the TRAIN only affects the price of basic commodities by less than 1% only.
Piñol believes that some dealers or middlemen are taking advantage of the implementation of TRAIN Law to manipulate market prices.
“The movement of the prices right now in the market is more likely caused by mere speculation than anything else,” Piñol said.
DA will form a technical working group to study and create a list of suggested retail prices (SRP) for agricultural products such as rice, fish, and crops.
Piñol said the SRP will give the government the authority to penalize those who violate its implementation.
“The intention of the President is first, protect our consumers and second is to protect the producers,” he said.
Whoever is found guilty of profiteering shall be penalized with P1,000 to P1-million pesos fine. — Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo