MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday approved the recommendation to impose a “mandated” price ceiling on selected pork and chicken products in the National Capital Region (NCR) following the rising food prices.
Upon the recommendation of the Department Agriculture, Duterte signed Executive Order 124 to address significant increases in prices of basic necessities in NCR such as pork and chicken that have caused undue burden to Filipinos, especially the underprivileged and marginalized.
The EO is also meant to address the country's reduced local pork output due to the outbreak of the African swine fever (ASF). Nearly 500,000 hogs have so far been culled in the country due to ASF.
"It is imperative and urgent to ensure that basic necessities are adequate, affordable and accessible to all," the EO read.
Under the EO, the mandated price ceiling of pork, particularly kasim or pigue is PHP270 per kilo while the price ceiling of liempo is PHP300 per kilo.
Likewise, the mandated price ceiling of dressed chicken is PHP160 per kilo.
Under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, the President, upon recommendation of the implementing agency or the Price Coordinating Council, may impose a price ceiling on any basic necessity during the existence or effect of any emergency or calamity.
On Sept. 16, 2020, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1021 (s. 2020) extending the state of calamity throughout the country due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic for a period of one year from Sept. 20, 2020 up to Sept. 12, 2021.
The EO will take effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation and will remain in full force and effect for 60 days from said date unless extended by the President upon recommendation of the DA.
The prices of meat and vegetables rose by 50 to 275 percent in January 2021 compared to January 2020, according to the price monitoring report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
In November last year, Duterte imposed a 60-day price freeze following the declaration of a state of calamity in Luzon in the wake of Typhoon Ulysses.
The price freeze, which already expired, covered basic food items like rice, pork, chicken, beef, vegetables, root crops, sugar, fresh fruits, canned fish, and other marine products, among basic commodities.
Last Thursday, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the designation of “special” hog lanes to ensure the unhampered shipment of pork products from Luzon and Mindanao through IATF Resolution No. 97.
The DA, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Trade and Industry have been directed to jointly implement the resolution to ensure the smooth shipment of pork products. (PNA)