Press Release
February 1, 2021

Stabilize food prices by ensuring supply and punishing manipulators: Pangilinan

TO stabilize soaring food prices amid the still-uncontrolled spread of Covid, the government must ensure food supply and go after manipulators of food supply and prices, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said.

According to the former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, food prices can be lowered in two ways:

"Number 1, maghanap ng paraan para madagdagan ang supply ng karne, ng gulay. Dapat yan whole-of-government approach -- kasama ang DA, DTI, ang local governments. And number 2, tiyakin na hindi sinasamantala ang mga mamimili at gamitin ang NBI, PNP, at ang Consumer Price Act para pwe-pwedeng ma-revoke ang business permit nung mga nagsasamantala," Pangilinan said referring to the Departments of Agriculture and Trade and Industry, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Philippine National Police.

He said government must strictly monitor food prices and punish violators of Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act of 1992.

The Senate, acting on Pangilinan's resolution and privilege speech requesting for an inquiry into rising food prices, will hold a hearing on the issue Monday, February 1.

Pangilinan said the price of pork has been rising due to the African swine flu, causing low supply, while the prices of fruits, vegetables, and other crops have been affected by the successive typhoons that struck the country in the last quarter of 2020.

He added that some tend to exploit this lack of supply, and this is where government should exercise its mandate.

Pangilinan recalled that as food security czar, he was able to bring down rice inflation from 14.4 percent in May 2014 to 0.10 percent in July 2015 when he brought the attention and focus of the government to solve the problem.

Aside from regulating food prices, he said local farmers, fishermen, and other food producers must also be supported with the full implementation of Bayanihan 2, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act of 2020.

Pangilinan, who owns a small vegetable farm, said the natural life cycle of various food crops also dictates their supply and therefore prices.

"February-March, bababa na raw ang presyo. Siguro dahil mayroong ka nang ilang gulay diyan. Tulad ng pechay, tulad ng mustasa, yung mga mabibilis. Tapos susunod na, yung kamatis, after 90 to 120 days," he said.

"Pero dapat diyan, suportahan din yung ating mga magsasaka. By way of tiyakin na yung mga lockdown areas, yung mga quarantine areas, na bibigyan sila ng suporta. Kaya yung Bayanihan 2, ay dapat madaliin ang pag-release para masuportahan ang ating magsasaka at nang makapagtanim at makapag-ani nang mas maayos," he added.

Pangilinan said the implementation status of Bayanihan 2, specifically the P24-billion assistance to the agriculture sector, would be among his questions at Monday's Senate hearing.

As a co-equal branch of the Executive and a check and balance, the Senate will do its best to try and address hunger, food supply, and food prices, Pangilinan said.

News Latest News Feed