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CBCP asked to break silence on prices

LUCENA CITY, Philippines—The farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Wednesday called on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to break its silence on the ongoing increase in food prices.

“We call on the Catholic Church hierarchy to speak up against the Aquino regime’s antipoor food policy,” KMP chair Rafael Mariano said in a statement.

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Mariano said farmers, workers, fishermen and the urban poor were the hardest hit by spikes in food prices.

Rice now sells for P2 more per kilogram.

According to the latest monitoring report by the Department of Agriculture, prices of imported garlic shot up to more than P300 per kg while local garlic costs P180 per kg.

In the first quarter of 2014 alone, garlic prices rose by 213 percent, or more than thrice its old price.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has ordered an inquiry and sent rolling trucks to sell basic goods at lower prices.

Mariano said the increase in prices was the result of the Aquino administration’s coddling of rice cartels and smugglers, and the lack of subsidy to farmers.

Mariano challenged the CBCP to side with farmers and the poor to expose “blatant lies” about the country’s real situation being peddled by government officials.

“The Aquino government is deceiving the Filipino people. It does not have a concrete solution to the lingering food and hunger problems,” Mariano said.

He slammed Malacañang’s prediction of food stability by September as “baseless and a mere political pacifier.”

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According to Mariano, rice prices started increasing in July last year and continued until today.

From July to September, rice prices increased by up to P4 per kg, he said.

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