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.