MANILA – High prices of basic goods, including onion, a key cooking ingredient in every household and food establishment, welcomed Filipinos during the long Christmas holiday and New Year break.
As of Tuesday, the prevailing price of red onions is still perched high between PHP400 to PHP 700 per kilogram while local white onions are set at PHP550/kg to PHP680/kg, according to the Department of Agriculture- Bantay Presyo (price watch).
These prices prevails in the markets despite the government setting the suggested retail price for onion at PHP250 per kilo.
But some families have found ways to cope up with the skyrocketing prices to provide the family a sumptuous meal on their table.
In an interview, Raffy Bartolome, 31, a father of two, said he had to make some adjustments to his culinary strategies.
“Sa sibuyas, need ko nang hatiin para sa next na lulutuin ko na ulam. Mabigat talaga ang presyo ngayon kesa dati. Nag-double na, hindi nga, nag-triple pa (For onion, I’m cutting it in half for our next dish. It’s really expensive now than before. Its price has doubled, and even tripled),” he told the Philippine News Agency.
“Para sa mga padre de pamilya na gaya ko, konting higpit pa sa bulsa. Iwas muna sa mga bisyo kasi sa bandang huli, pamilya rin natin ang mahihirapan lalo na sa panahon ngayon (The head of the family, like me, needs to tighten the belt a bit more. Avoid vices because in the end, it is our family which will suffer especially nowadays” he said.
Bartolome also called on authorities to continue making the rounds in markets to ensure nobody takes advantage of the situation.
P200 spices for 15 days
Like Bartolome, budgeting skills are a must for Michael Neil Guevarra, 29, a government worker.
Guevarra said he has found the exact place that still sells the ingredients that he needs priced within their budget.
“Kung matalinong mamimili ka ng Pilipinas, hindi ka aaray sa taas ng bilihin… Sa Litex ang solusyon, tag-bebente lang ang binibili namin (If you’re a wise buyer in the Philippines, you would not need to complain about the high prices. The solution is in Litex market in Quezon City. We’re only buying as much as PHP20),” he "said referring to one or two pieces of onion.
Efficient Kadiwa sites
Jennifer Neilsen Casulla, a news desk editor and a mother experienced in budgeting, finds Kadiwa sites favorable for families.
“In a way they are efficient… In fairness, pricing of the basic goods like eggs, rice, onions, and sugar is okay,” she told the Philippine News Agency.
She was able to purchase local white onions at PHP170/kg, way cheaper than the prevailing market prices in Metro Manila.
As an alternative to Kadiwa sites, Casulla also urged consumers to find their favorite or usual sellers who offer loyal buyers special discounts.
But Kadiwa sites are not only helpful for families looking for affordable meal ingredients. These sites even benefit those who own small eateries.
Aries Reyes, 39, owner of Chicha Food Haus in Angat town, Bulacan province, shared how helpful the DA’s Kadiwa site has been.
Reyes said they can even purchase affordable onions online via Facebook messenger, which is attended by a DA staff.
“Ino-order lang namin ‘yan online. Sila na rin magbu-book, ikaw magbabayad sa Lalamove (We’re ordering it online. They are the ones securing the booking, then you’ll pay it via Lalamove),” he told the PNA.
“Malaking tulong kasi pati kami sa malayo na hindi makaluwas, nakaka-avail pa rin ng murang sibuyas (That’s a huge help, because even we, who are not able to travel, can still avail of the cheap onions),” he added.
As of now, the DA-Agribusiness Development Center (ADC) is regularly posting its available products and price list on its Facebook page.
The page typically replies within a few minutes or hours with a template of instructions for consumers wanting to place their order.
The DA-ADC staff will be the one to prepare, pack, and send orders via select couriers (Grab, Lalamove, or Toktok), which can be either paid online or by cash on delivery.
The DA has also posted its schedule for the week, starting Tuesday until Sunday, Jan. 8, in areas in Metro Manila. (PNA)