March 7, 2011
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today stresses the need for the government to prepare contingency measures to address rising global food prices but also cautions the public and media to temper the issue and not panic.
Pangilinan, the Senate Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, today presided over an inquiry in aid of legislation on the on the government’s ability to address the sudden increase of the prices of foods and other agricultural products. The committee hearing was attended by Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Greg Domingo, National Food Authority Director Lito Banayo, and representatives from the United Nation’s World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as representatives from various agricultural sectors and the academe.
“This hearing was conducted precisely to assess the government’s preparedness amidst the prolonged political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa which at the moment is affecting the price of oil. We invited the DTI, NEDA, and the DA to ensure that prices remain stable and that there is enough supply of food in the country.”
Pangilinan also recommends that the government agencies concerned through the Executive Department should look at stockpiling measures much like what other countries are currently doing to protect their buffer of food. He also calls the attention of the DTI and consumers to aggressively monitor prices of basic commodities in the market to prevent unscrupulous traders from taking advantage of the situation.
“From the reports we gathered, prices of pork and chicken remain stable, and the price of onion has gone down. We also got a report from the NFA that our rice supply is still sufficient. But the price of flour, milk and sugar are going up thereby causing the price of bread to go up. Oil price increases are obviously affecting the prices of all the commodities. These are the reasons why we are conducting this inquiry—to make sure that we are not caught with our pants down in the worst case scenario.”
“Kinakailangan ay huwag mag-panic ang lahat. Kinakailangan lamang ay maghanda tayo para hindi tayong abutang natutulog sa pansitan sakaling magtuloy-tuloy ang pagtaas ng bilihin.”