Palace assures no artificial price hike in rice, garlic, pork

Posted at 06/22/2014 2:39 PM | Updated as of 06/22/2014 7:20 PM

MANILA -- Based on justifications from industry players, Malacanang said there is no superficial increase in the prices of rice, garlic, pork, and other commodities.

In an interview with radio dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. stressed the government will not allow those who hoard, divert, and overprice different commodities.

According to Coloma, the National Price Coordinating Council recently met to look into several solutions to help Filipino consumers affected by the recent price increases. Traders, hog and poultry raisers and several other stakeholders were invited.

As far as rice is concerned, he assured that there is enough National Food Authority (NFA) rice to stem price increases.

NFA price should be at around P27 per kilo, while its well-milled variant should be at P32 per kilo, he said. Commercial rice, on the other hand, is around P40 per kilo for the low quality kind, while the well-milled kind is at P45 to P50 per kilo.

“We are advising the public that they will implement the full force of the law on those who divert, hoard, and overprice government or NFA rice. ‘Yan po ang kanilang pahayag. Ayon pa rin sa NFA, ang kasalukuyang supply ng NFA rice ay umaabot na sa humigit-kumulang 2.4 na milyong metrikong tonelada, at ito ay sapat para sa susunod na 72 araw o hanggang sa unang linggo ng Setyembre na kung kailan inaasahan ang resulta ng unang pag-ani o harvest season,” Coloma said.

Of the 800,000 metric tons that need to be imported, a total of 193,000 tons will be delivered by end June. The balance will be achieved by August, he said.

Sugar, pork

Malacanang also assured that the prices of sugar, pork and poultry should already improve in the days ahead.

On sugar, Coloma explained that the increase is due to market demand, which bolstered prices to as much as P52 per kilo.

“Ngunit sa kanila din pong pagtutok o monitoring ay bumaba din ito sa P49 at meron pong suggested retail price ang sugar at ito po ay nasa P50 kada kilo,” he said.

On pork, the increase is due to tight supply brought about by the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) that affected the piglets. In the US alone, around 8 million were affected by the PED, he said.

“Ngunit ayon din po sa mga kinatawan ng mga hog raisers, ‘yung farm gate prices ay nag-i-improve na kaya inaasahan na bababa na rin ang retail prices… Nag-request po ang mga hog raisers na huwag namang masyadong pababaan ‘yung mga presyo para naman ma-recover din nila ‘yung kanilang losses. So sinusubaybayan po ito,” Coloma added.

The tight supply in poultry products, on the other hand, is due to the warm climate. The price in wet markets is at P130 to P140 per kilo.

“At ayon naman sa asosasyon ng mga poultry growers or poultry raisers, ‘yung mainit na temperatura nitong tag-init ay naging contributory factor naman sa mabagal na paglaki ‘nung mga manok. Ibig sabihin mababa ang kanilang timbang kaya ito po ang isa sa mga sanhi ng temporary shortage. Pero nag-i-improve na rin po ‘yung supply situation at sa kasalukuyan ang umiiral ay 90 percent locally supplied ang atin pong ginagamit,” he said.

Meanwhile, the prices of garlic remain high.

Coloma said the Department of Agriculture is already assessing the situation and has deployed rolling stores in Muntinlupa, Pasig, Marikina, and Quezon City selling locally grown garlic. The price should be at P100 to P200 per kilo depending on the size, he said.

Most of those in the market right now are imported.

Prices of ginger should be relatively low, Coloma said, adding that the local supply is enough to meet the demand.

“’Yung mga magsasaka tinatago ‘yung 10 percent ng kanilang production para sa susunod na taniman… Sa iba pang mga agricultural products, stable naman ang prices ng cooking oil, stable din ‘yung sa tilapia at sa carrots. Binabantayan din po ng pamahalaan ‘yung presyo ng gulay,” he said.

Coloma said the government is also monitoring the effect of the truck ban in Manila and other parts of the region.

“Tinututukan po ‘yan pero hindi po ‘yan ang pangunahing dahilan, contributory factor lang po, at patuloy naman ‘yung pagsisikap na ma-clear po ‘yung backlog ng mga kargamento na naipit sa ating Port of Manila,” Coloma said.