Price increases only temporary, officials sayBy Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Increases in the prices of basic goods such as rice, fish and vegetables are temporary only and prices are expected to normalize soon, various government officials said Saturday.
After monitoring prices in Pasay City, the trade and agriculture departments reported that the price of premium commercial rice rose by P2 a kilo, while the prices of regular and premium NFA rice remained at P 27 and P 32, respectively. They could not say, however, what exactly caused the prices of non-NFA rice to go up.
Agriculture Director Leandro Gazmin reported also that the prices of some agricultural products such as cabbage, baguio napa cabbage and onions also went up due to reduced deliveries. Truck deliveries from Benguet were reportedly affected by the flooding brought about by intense monsoon rains.
“We see temporary price increase in fish and vegetables. The problem is not in the supply but in the distribution. Once the flooding subsides the prices will normalize in the next coming days,” Gazmin added.
He said that prices of fish caught in the open seas such as alumahan had also increased due to difficulties catching fish in bad weather.
According to a price list provided by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the cost of one kilo of alumahan increased this week by P40 to P160 from last week’s P120.
Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, meanwhile, reported that the prices of other basic goods such as bread, sardines, and noodles remained stable.
“There was no movement in the price of dry goods such as canned goods, bread, and noodles. The manufacturers of dry goods guaranteed us that they will not increase their prices and ensure adequate supply of goods in the market,” Domingo said.
The prices of chicken and pork, and farm-harvested fish such as bangus and tilapia also remained steady.
According to Domingo, “Diskwento Caravans” will be organized in areas affected by Storm Maring, to provide these communities with a cheaper source of basic goods. Discounts often range from 10 percent to 40 percent.
Domingo warned unscrupulous traders who violate a freeze on prices in areas declared under a state of calamity could face fines of up to P1 million and/or imprisonment of up to 10 years.