An agricultural group did not welcome the price freeze imposed over Luzon, saying it would not help the typhoon-hit farmers, fishers, and poultry and hog raisers to recover from the damages the typhoons have caused.
Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. vice president Nicanor Briones said in an interview on GMA News TV’s Balitanghali that the agriculture sector should be allowed to increase prices.
Briones slammed Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William for allowing a price freeze to be imposed on the farmers, fishers, and poultry and hog raisers.
“Magsasaka ang kanyang constituents, alam na alam naman niya na ang maggugulay ay tinamaan ng mga bagyo. Ibig sabihin ang maaaring na-harvest n’yan baka 50%, 30% lang ng kanyang tinanim,” he said.
“Ibig sabihin, nalulugi na siya. And then, biglang ang presyo ay hindi maibebenta na makabawi-bawi ka man lang doon sa pagkalugi,” he added.
Under a state of calamity, businesses would not be allowed to increase the prices of basic commodities, as stated in Republic Act 7581.
Section 6 of the Price Act said that “if the prevailing price of any basic necessity is excessive or unreasonable, the implementing agency may recommend to the President the imposition of a price ceiling for the sale of the basic necessity at a price other than its prevailing price.”
Agri group opposes price freeze in Luzon
Briones recommended giving a cash subsidy to affected agricultural sector members to help them recover from the damage caused by the calamity.
“Ang importante proteksyunan mo ‘yung mga gusto pang mag-alaga, ‘yung gustong magtanim,” Briones said.
“Kapag ‘yan ang umayaw—hindi naman pinoproteksyunan ng mga nasa pamahaalan natin—paano kung maghanap na ng ibang hanapbuhay? Paano ‘yung ating food security at ating consumer?” he added.
In a separate interview on Balitanghali, DA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said Dar already ordered DA’s price monitoring team and agricultural businesses to discuss the price freeze.
“Balangkasin nila ‘yung mga previous prices noong wala pa sa SRP noon, kagaya ng mga gulay. So again, pinagme-meeting-an na po ‘yan para ma-determine nila ano ba dapat ang presyo,” Reyes said.