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LKI Press Statement 2021-006
February 22, 2021
AMIDST THE PORK HOLIDAY BY MARKET VENDORS, CONSUMER GROUP CALLS FOR RELEASE OF INVESTIGATION ON MANIPULATION AND COLLUSION ON PRICES OF MEAT PRODUCTS
In a position paper which was submitted and read in the hearing of the Senate Committee on Food, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform last Monday 2021 , Atty Vic Dimagiba of Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) said that “we are waiting for the report of the Economic Intelligence Task Force created by the President composed of the DTI, DA, DOJ, DILG, NBI, PNP, PCC, BOC, NSC and NICA on the allegation of price collusion, cartel and profiteering, and whether charges if any, against public and / or private persons have been filed with the proper authorities.” Earlier, the Department of Agriculture blamed certain meat traders for price manipulation that saw pork prices skyrocketed past Pp 400 per kilo.
Dimagiba highlighted that “given the difficulty of job security as well as underemployment due to the pandemic, we may see the consumers shifting from buying meat products to other cheaper basic necessities and prime commodities or not buying meat products at all. With vendors stopping to sell meat products, this shift in consumer spending is not at all bad but very alarming because consumers right of access to meat products is denied due to high prices.”
As an update, Dimagiba said that “the Senate Committee on Food, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform chaired by Sen Cynthia Villar adopted a Senate Resolution to require the submission of such report on the investigation on motion of Senator Imee Marcos and seconded by Sen Francis Pangilinan.
Dimagiba added that the implementing agencies under the Price Act should start to utilize Section 9 thru the appropriation in the regular budget of a Buffer Fund for the purpose of ensuring stable supply and reasonable prices of basic necessities and prime commodities This provision had not been utilized. The Buffer fund shall be used to procure, purchase, import, stock file any basic necessities and prime commodities and devise ways and means of distributing them in areas where there is shortage of supply or a need to effect changes in the prevailing price.