Senator Kiko Pangilinan on Sunday asked the national government to strictly monitor food prices and try to stem the price increases monitored from the start of the new year by ensuring that the food supply chain is unbroken and the distribution flow is smooth.

Kiko warns of inflation: ‘Liempo’ now at P420 per kilo, ‘galunggong’ at P300 per kilo

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Senator Kiko Pangilinan on Sunday asked the national government to strictly monitor food prices and try to stem the price increases monitored from the start of the new year by ensuring that the food supply chain is unbroken and the distribution flow is smooth.

“Kakarampot na lang ang nabibili sa palengke ng limang daang piso. Sobra ang itinaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin ngayong bagong taon. Dagdag pahirap ito sa pandemya,” he said.

According to the price monitoring of the Department of Agriculture, as of middle of last week, January 13, per kilo prices were as follows: liempo (or pork belly) at P420, pige (beef rump) at P450, whole chicken at P180, cabbage at P220, Baguio pechay at P180, red onion and garlic at P140, sili (pepper) can go as high as P1,000.

At the Tandang Sora Market in Quezon City, galunggong, which is considered as “the poor man’s fish” increased to P300 per kilo from last December’s P260.

“Hirap na sa paghanap ng pagkakakitaan ang mga kababayan natin dahil sa pandemya. Siguruhin naman natin na yung nabawasan na nga nilang kita ay malayo-layo naman sana ang maaabot,” Pangilinan said.

“Kung hindi natin kaya ang ‘sahod itaas’, pagtuunan natin ang ‘presyo ibaba’,” he added.

Food prices are on the rise because food supply dropped due to the pandemic lockdowns, the successive typhoons in the last quarter of 2020 destroyed crops, as well as the African swine flu and the closed fishing season during the cold months.

Pangilinan said rising food prices may also be due to ill effects of the flood of food imports. He said more Filipino farmers seem discouraged from planting after consecutive losses as cheaper food imports ease their produce out of the market.

“Kailangang mapasigla pa natin ang kabuhayan ng ating magsasaka para mas ganado silang magtanim. At pag mas marami silang ani, mas mababa ang presyo ng mga bilihin sa palengke,” he said.

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House panel OKs 10-year extension requiring banks to loan funds to MSMEs

By Billy Begas

The House Committees on Appropriation and on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development have approved the measure seeking to extend for 10 years the law mandating banks to allocate 10 percent of its loanable funds to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The still unnumbered measure, authored by Deputy Speaker Bro. Eddie Villanueva and CIBAC Rep. Domingo Rivera seeks to amend the Magna Carta for Small Enterprises (Republic Act 6577).

Under the law, all lending institutions are mandated to set aside at least eight percent for Micro and Small Enterprises and at least two percent for Medium Enterprises their total loan portfolio. The provision lapsed in 2018.

Villanueva said based on data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, as of March 2019, banks allocate a meager 2.72 percent of their loan portfolio to micro and small enterprises and 4.19 percent to medium enterprises.

“We owe our MSME sector a great deal. This bill is for them; karapat-dapat sila. It is only apt that we invest in them by ensuring availability of access to credit and government assistance and programs. They are our economy’s unsung heroes, comprising 99% of firms in our economy,” said Villanueva.

Other significant provisions of the proposals are as follows:

– National Government shall allocate at least 10% of its procurement needs to eligible MSMEs;

– Entitlement of registered MSMEs to 20% discount on shipping, delivery fees, mailing, freight, and other similar services for products and raw materials provided by either public or private

– 20% of total rentable spaces of private malls allocated for MSMEs at a 20% discount on rental payment;

-At least one percent of the total space available in all government buildings, structures, and open areas allotted for selling area of MSMEs

-At least 0.5 percent for every 5,000 square meters in private malls, supermarkets, shopping centers, commercial selling establishments, structures, or areas allotted for selling area to MSME stores

Guevarra: DOJ prepared to probe assault vs NUPL lawyer

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday (March 4) assured that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is prepared to investigate the attack against lawyer Angelo Karlo Guillen, one of the legal counsels of the petitions seeking to declare as unconstitutional the Anti-Terrorism Law before the Supreme Court (SC).

“If he has good reason to believe that it’s related to his advocacies, I will refer the matter to the AO (Administrative Order) 35 task force for appropriate action,” the secretary said.

DOJ’s AO 35 Task Force investigates extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations to the rights to life, liberty and security of persons.

At the moment, Guevarra said Guillen has yet to reach out to the DOJ to seek an investigation.

“We’ll wait for Atty. Guillen to make a statement about the incident,” Guevarra said.

Guillen, who is also the assistant vice president of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) Visayas sustained stab wounds from a screw driver after being assaulted by unidentified men in Iloilo City on Wednesday (March 3).

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