MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III has ordered Cabinet officials to strictly monitor prices of basic commodities as the holiday season nears.
Aquino particularly tasked officials to prevent unusual price movements due to “abuses that produce disadvantage and detriment to our populace,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said at a press briefing on Thursday.
“As recently as last week, nagpatawag ang Pangulo ng pagpupulong. Mahigpit ang pag-uutos sa lahat ng mga ahensya, lalung-lalo na ang Department of Agriculture, na tutukan ‘yung supply and price situation, lalo na parating na ang holiday season at mag-i-increase ang demand,” the Palace official said.
He added that Aquino specifically asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ensure that the supply and the prices of pork and chicken remain stable during the holidays.
“The President continues to monitor this matter because it is of primary importance to the government,” Coloma said.
The Palace official further said that the government is determined to go after those who cause artificial price spikes, such as the government officials and importer who supposedly colluded and caused garlic prices to spike a few months ago.
“Malinaw naman na mayroon ngang naganap na pang-aabuso ang ibang mga sektor kaya nga noon pa, nag-utos na ang pangulo na tukuyin ang mga nagsasamantalang ito,” Coloma said.
“Nagsagawa na ng aksyon ang ating law enforcement agencies. Nag-raid na ng warehouses, nag-file na ng mga kaso. Ito na, ang latest result, ‘yung mga nagsamantala ay pinapanagot na ng pamahalaan,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice recommended the abolition of the National Garlic Action Team under the DA for supposedly being “unnecessary and unhelpful” in keeping the prices of garlic stable.
The National Bureau of Investigation will also gather more evidence to prosecute the people who supposedly colluded to cause price spikes last June.
For his part, Coloma said concerned agencies are now carefully studying the DOJ recommendation to prevent such unusual increases in the price of garlic.
“Tiyak na pinag-aaralan ng mabuti ang mga rekomendasyon na ito at nagkakaroon naman ng mainam na koordinasyon among the various departments para masolusyonan ang suliraning ito,” he said. (MNS)