Government to curb Christmas price hikes
A shopper walks past an advertisement featuring Christmas gift baskets at a mall in Mandaluyong in a 2018 file photo.
Michael Varcas
Government to curb Christmas price hikes
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday assured the public that the government would implement measures to prevent spikes in the prices of food and other basic commodities during the holidays.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said agencies would continue monitoring prices and increasing food production as imposing price controls is an extreme measure.

“The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) is monitoring the prices of not just food, but all products. Prices were initially ordered frozen at the onset of the pandemic, but even with price controls lifted, the government continues to be conscious of the need to keep an eye on the prices of goods in the market,” Nograles said in a statement.

“We want to prevent price manipulation, make sure there is no hoarding, to avoid situations wherein unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of artificial shortages of goods,” he added.

The price caps imposed during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic were intended to prevent profiteering, hoarding and other unscrupulous business practices.

“Now, what the DA (Department of Agriculture) and DTI are doing is price monitoring. If there are no abuses, we would continue to monitor the prices.

As much as possible, a price control will not be (implemented). Of course, we want free market forces. Price control is an extreme measure,” Nograles said.

He also cited the importance of boosting food production during the pandemic. He encouraged Filipinos to grow their own vegetables, saying it would give them access to nutritious food.

“We hope this culture of urban and home gardening takes root in our country. We should go beyond being plantitos and plantitas. We should also be vegetitos and vegetitas,” Nograles said.

Nograles also disputed claims that many Filipinos are hungry because they are lazy. Hunger incidents, he added, are related to the COVID-19 crisis, which has displaced several workers.

“Let’s not generalize that laziness. Filipinos are diligent, we know that. It’s hard to accept and to say that Filipinos are lazy.

I don’t believe that. They just lack opportunities,” Nograles said.
“We are now reopening the economy so more of our countrymen can work,” he added.

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