Romualdez warns traders vs price manipulation, profiteering
MANILA, Philippines — Traders should think twice before jacking up the prices of goods with the Yuletide season fast approaching as Congress is ready to exercise its oversight function and ensure that prices remain affordable to consumers.
Speaker Martin Romualdez issued the warning to traders as he also urged suppliers to double the delivery of in-demand items to retailers and stall owners in markets until the end of the holidays.
“We want to make sure that traders do not take advantage of the holiday season to jack up prices of basic commodities. The Christmas season is meant to be a time of giving and compassion, and we want to make sure that prices of goods are affordable to a great majority of our people,” Romualdez said on Monday.
He stressed that basic goods and ingredients often used in family celebrations should remain affordable especially as demand spikes due to the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“Prices of rice and other noche buena items should be affordable. Vegetables like onions, garlic, tomatoes, cabbage, etc. should be within the reach of our people. We appeal to retailers to follow the suggested retail price,” Romualdez said.
He reminded traders and suppliers that the House of Representatives also has the oversight function to fight inflation and ensure that prices of basic commodities remain low.
The Leyte lawmaker recalled the hoarding and price manipulation of onions, which sent prices of onions to as high as P700 a kilogram late last year, and that the House succeeded in revealing the culprits.
“Remember, the House, through the Committee on Agriculture and Food, successfully unmasked the personalities involved in the hoarding and price manipulation of onions after concluding a four-month investigation,” Romualdez said.
He added: “Our primary task here is to protect people’s welfare by providing them with the most affordable goods in the market. It is a reaffirmation of our commitment to ensuring fair pricing and protecting consumers’ interests by fighting hoarding and exorbitant prices.”
Romualdez made the remarks after visiting stalls at the Farmers’ Market in Cubao, Quezon City, on Monday morning to check the prices of basic goods like rice, meat, and vegetables.
He said prices of vegetables and meat were stable at the said market, although prices of rice were higher at P50 to P55 a kilogram.
“We will check Bulacan’s warehouses again and find out why there’s a slight uptick in prices of rice. We want to find out if supply is enough or if there’s hoarding again, and we will monitor the level of importation and local production,” he told reporters.