After observing an increase in the prices of farm and fishery products, the Department of Agriculture on Feb. 8, 2020 threatened to penalize abusive businesses it said are controlling the supply of agricultural commodities for their own benefit.
AFP, File photo
DA to penalize abusive food traders, retailers manipulating prices
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - February 8, 2020 - 12:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — After observing an increase in the prices of farm and fishery products, the Department of Agriculture on Saturday threatened to penalize abusive businesses it said are controlling the supply of agricultural commodities for their own benefit.

The Agriculture department said it would strictly implement the Price Act of 1992 (Republic Act 7581), allowing them to pursue businesses found to be manipulating the prices of food commodities.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar on January 20 issued Department Order 3 to enforce the Price Act, "directing the concerned department and attached agencies to closely monitor and report all cases of illegal price manipulation of poultry and pork products and all other covered goods of the aforementioned law, and to strictly enforce the provisions of the Price Act in confirmed cases of price manipulation.”

Illegal acts of price manipulation listed in the Price Act are profiteering, hoarding and cartel.

Profiteering, cited in the department order, is defined by the law as “the sale or offering for sale of any basic necessity or prime commodity at a price grossly in excess of its true worth.”

Evidence of profiteering include the following conditions of a basic necessity or prime commodity being sold (except for agricultural crops, fresh fish, fresh marine products and other seasonal products covered by the Price Act and as determined by the implementing agency):

  • Has no price tag
  • Is misrepresented as to its weight or measurement
  • Is adulterated or diluted
  • Whenever a person raises the price of any basic necessity or prime commodity he sells or offers for sale to the general public by more than ten percent (10%) of its price in the immediately preceding month

Violators of illegal price manipulation face 5 to 15 years of imprisonment and a fine between P5,000 to P2 million.

"[T]he Department noted that there was an increase in the price of poultry and pork during the Christmas season and that the same had not been decreased despite the end of said season," the Agriculture department order read.

The department monitored an P80 difference or a 103.41% increase between the current average farm gate price for chicken (P77.44 per kilogram) and its market price (P157.52 per kg).

For pork, it recorded a discrepancy of P126 or a 128% markup from the average farm gate price (P98.04 per kg) to its market price (P224.04).

“These discrepancies demonstrate a gross and direct contravention of the prohibitions set forth by the Price Act...With this latest Department issuance, we aim to protect the welfare of consumers, and farmers and fisherfolk — who are themselves consumers,” Dar said in a Saturday release.

He also linked the price hikes to the recent Taal Volcano unrest.

"Obviously, some traders and sellers refuse to reduce prices to pre-Christmas levels, and are taking advantage of the recent eruption of Taal Volcano," the Agriculture secretary said.

“Thus, we warn unscrupulous and heartless businessmen, traders and retailers who take advantage of their countrymen. Rest assured that the guilty profiteers will not go unpunished in accordance with the law.”

DA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TAAL VOLCANO TAAL VOLCANO ERUPTION TAAL VOLCANO ERUPTION 2020 WILLIAM DAR
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with