Press Release
February 8, 2021

Profiting off people's hunger and misery is a crime: Pangilinan

PROFITING off the people's hunger and misery is wrong and punishable under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Sunday, urging the government to act as one and implement the law that protects consumers especially during emergency situations like the pandemic.

"Mali ang pagkakitaan ang gutom at pagdurusa ng taumbayan. Kailangang siguruhin ng pamahalaan na may makakain ang sambayanan. Kailangan magkaisa ang lahat para tugunan ang kagyat na pangangailangang ito," said Pangilinan, who had called for last week's Senate public hearing on the issue of rising food prices.

He said the hearing, which was prompted by his Senate Resolution 618, revealed several gaps in the Executive Department's implementation of the Price Act.

The Price Act provides consumer protection from runaway, unstable prices of basic goods and services, and prescribes measures against undue price increases, especially during emergency situations.

On Friday, February 5, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that Inflation in January accelerated to a two-year high of 4.2 percent from 3.5 percent in December 2020 due to the uptick in food prices and transport costs.

"Ang ibig sabihin nito, sunod-sunod na suntok na ang tinitiis ng mga kapwa nating Pilipino, lalo na yung mga nawalan na ng trabaho o bumaba ang kita dahil sa pandemya," Pangilinan said.

"Panawagan ito para sa mga nasa kapangyarihan: Maawa naman kayo," he added.

In an attempt to bring down food prices, a 60-day pork and chicken price cap was imposed in Metro Manila effective Monday, February 8.

As former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, Pangilinan addressed a similar price spike in rice in 2014. Aside from almost doubling rice supply in the market, he also went after profiteers and price manipulators in and out of government.

The senator pointed out that price manipulators should be punished, emphasizing the need for strong coordination among the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Animal Industry, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Finance to ensure transparent importation that should eventually help stabilize food prices.

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