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By Prince Golez

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles assured the government has continuing measures to prevent price increases of basic commodities this holiday season.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) continuously monitors the prices of basic goods, particularly food items, as the Philippines is still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, Nograles said in an online forum recently.

“The DTI is monitoring the prices of not just food, but all products. Prices were initially ordered frozen at the onset of the pandemic, but even with price controls lifted the government continues to be conscious of the need to keep an eye on the prices of goods in the market,” according to the Palace official.

“We want to prevent price manipulation, make sure there is no hoarding, to avoid situations wherein unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of artificial shortages of goods,” he also said.

Aside from monitoring the prices of food staples like rice, Nograles said the government is also taking steps to improve food production to ensure an adequate food supply throughout the holidays.

“Making sure that food production is uninterrupted and supply chains are unimpeded are among our priorities to ensure adequate supplies and access to the market. If these measures are in place, we can prevent price fluctuations that can hurt Filipino consumers,” the chair of the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force added.

He cited the Department of Agriculture’s e-Kadiwa program, a digital platform system that brings safe, healthy, and fresh farm produce direct from merchants to consumers in Metro Manila; and the USAID-supported DELIVER-e platform that aims to help Filipino farmers transport their produce to key markets.

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