AS the 60-day price ceiling on pork and chicken products starts Monday, February 8, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Sunday said the Department of Agriculture (DA) must confiscate and return to the market hoarded food.
“Sa DA nanggaling na may mga nag-h-hoard ng pagkain. Kumpiskahin ang mga ito at ibenta, of course after the necessary sanitary and safety tests. Yun ang isa sa mga solusyon para umangat ang suplay. Pag dumami ang suplay, bababa ang presyo,” Pangilinan said.
“Kumbaga, kailangan na ng immediate blood transfusion. Dapat kaagad-agad mailabas ang tamang suplay ng karne,” added the former food security czar who was able to bring down rice prices in 2015 by almost doubling rice supply in urban centers.
Pangilinan said that the imposed price ceiling on meat products is a mere Band-Aid solution to the deeply-wounding problem of rising food prices.
“Hindi magic wand ang price ceiling. Hindi bababa ang presyo ng pagkain kung kulang ang suplay ng pagkain. Ang problema ay naghihingalo na ang pasyente pero Band-Aid lang itong price ceiling,” he said.
Apart from monitoring prices and imposing a price ceiling, the senator said government must strictly implement the laws that protect consumers. He said the price ceiling is only a temporary measure that will most likely be ineffective especially when implemented with lack of urgency.
As food security czar during the rice price inflation in 2014, Pangilinan also created an inter-agency task force composed of the National Food Authority (NFA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the police.
The task force went after profiteers, unscrupulous traders, and even a number of NFA managers. It revoked or suspended the permits of those who violated the law, and filed cases against them.