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‘Di rin gusto ni Duterte ‘to: Palace says oil price hike unexpected

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Malacañang has sought to allay public concern over the continued rise in the prices of basic goods by assuring them that President Rodrigo Duterte is aware of their worries.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque blamed the price spike on higher fuel prices, something which he said the government has no control over.

“ Well, sa Malacañang naman po ang Presidente natin, hindi naman po manhid sa mga pangyayari. Talagang walang gusto po na ganitong kataas ang presyo ng langis,” he said.

Roque also downplayed reports that the price hike is a result of implementation of the tax reform law.

“Kaya ngayon po ay tatlong bagay ang kaniyang pinag-utos – unang-una iyong DTI na magmasid at talagang hulihin iyong mga negosyante na lumalabag sa suggested retail price. Kasi ang dami ring nagsasamantala sa ngayon, talagang napakataas ng bilihin, pero ito po siguro mga 70% nagsasamantalang mga negosyante,” he said.

Duterte ordered the trade department to conduct daily surveillance of retail and wholesale stores to avoid scrupulous traders from taking advantage of the situation.

“Mayroon po iyang fine at mayroon din po iyang pagkakasara. So iyan po, lahat po noong DTI surveillance team activated,” he said.

The President had also asked Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III to act on the call of labor groups to raise wages. Bello announced earlier that he had ordered the 17 regional tripartite wages and productivity boards to act on the proposals.

“Sinabi na ni Secretary Bello iyong mga regional wage board magpulong na. Tingnan kung dapat itaas iyong mga minimum wage dahil alam natin mas mataas ang bilihin, kinakailangan mas mataas ang sahod,” Roque said.

Roque added that the procurement of cheaper supply of crude from Russia, China and the United States is also among the measures being looked into by the government.