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Duterte sets price cap on pork, chicken

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) -- President Duterte has imposed a 60-day freeze in the prices of pork and chicken in Metro Manila to check their exorbitant prices in markets, earning the ire of local producers who believe the rates are “impossible” to meet.
Executive Order No. 124, which the President signed on Monday, set price ceilings of P270 a kilo for “kasim/pigue” and P300 per kilo for “liempo,” and P160 a kilo for dressed chicken, against the current rates of P440 and P200, respectively, in public markets.

Meat vendors at the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City prepare choice cuts of pork as they wait for shoppers on Monday.                   --Photo Nino Jesus Orbeta

The President acted on a recommendation of Agriculture Secretary William Dar, who blamed unscrupulous traders and profiteers for the abnormal price increases. Local raisers, however, have cited a combination of factors, such as the slow recovery of food establishments from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the unimpeded importation of meat, and the persistence of the African swine fever (ASF).
Consumers have been complaining of higher food prices not only of meat but also of vegetables and some fish. The inflated rates have especially hurt low-income families who are still reeling from the economic standstill caused by the pandemic.
Senate hearing
Industry leaders claimed during a hearing called by the Senate committee on agriculture and food that they were not consulted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) when it recommended price ceilings to the President.
The DA earlier said in a briefing that the proposed rates were based on prevailing market prices in previous months. But critics said it did not factor in changes in production costs.
Alyansa Agrikultura chair Ernesto Ordoñez, who was present during the hearing, said in an interview that the price freeze would demotivate hog and chicken raisers from further production and would hurt the industry in the long run.
“We will not be earning anymore with those price points,” said Gregorio San Diego, chair of the United Broilers Raisers Association. “There are fewer poultry raisers now since hotels and restaurants were temporarily closed during the lockdowns that resulted in an oversupply. Even then, the DA has allowed the importation of chicken despite our plea to temporarily suspend it.”


(Latest Update February 3, 2021)

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