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Facebook: Laban Konsyumer Inc.
LKI Press Statement
January 27, 2021
CONSUMER GROUP REGRETS NO ACTION FROM THE ANTI – TRUST AGENCY
ON MEAT PRICES
In a press statement, consumer group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) regretted that the anti-trust agency had still remained mum on the matter of price manipulation by traders and wholesalers of meat products despite earlier pleas to investigate as early as mid-October 2020.
Vic Dimagiba, LKI President said we sent a letter to the anti-trust agency in October 12, 2020 and all they did was acknowledged receipt of the letter.
The consumer group explained that around the same time we informed consumers of the overly high prices of pork and chicken and the Department of Agriculture (DA) had started an investigation on a possible deliberate effort by traders to withhold the release of pork products in the market, thereby causing high prices.
Based on data, there is a significant inventory of both locallyslaughtered and imported pork in cold storage facilities accredited by the Department of Agriculture’s National Meat Inspection Service (DA-NMIS).
Dimagiba said the government should not hesitate to file cartel charges if hog growers and traders were found engaging in anti-competitive practice and restricting the supply of pork products, resulting in higher prices at retail markets.
Dimagiba added “we ask for government and the different agencies to follow through on this investigation… we have also asked if they are also looking at whether the high prices were a result of inefficiencies in the supply chain”.
The DA has an existing agreement with the anti – trust agency on information exchange, investigation, and enforcement, as well as action plans through shared resources to limit and put a stop to anti-competitive practices.
Structurally, there is something wrong in the competition law that allows the anti trust agency to enter into a Memo of Agreement with the regulators. That restrains both parties to produce the desired result that benefits the consumers .
Dimagiba thinks that it may be appropriate to return the function of cartel and collusion powers back to the Department of Justice Office for Competition towards filing of criminal cases as they did in the garlic industry. The DOJ OFC is different since prosecutorial investigation is their competencies . END.