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DA puts price cap on meat, other agri products

By Connie Calipay

After President Rodrigo Duterte placed the country under a state of calamity due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak early this week, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol has ordered a price freeze covering all the basic agricultural commodities across the region.

In an interview, Emily Bordado, DA Bicol spokesperson, said the order issued on May 12 prohibited retailers from changing their prices and ordered them to stick to the price caps issued by their office for every city and province in the region.

“Section 6 of Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act of 1992 states that all basic necessities with reference to agricultural crops, meat, and poultry, in an area proclaimed under a state of calamity or under an emergency, shall be automatically frozen,” Bordado said.

With the declaration, the prices of basic commodities in the cities and provinces would be “frozen” for 60 days, she said.

Bordado added that retailers found selling at more than the listed prevailing price shall be imposed an administrative fine of up to P1 million and a maximum of 10-year imprisonment.

“The DA Bicol enjoins consumers to report retailers that sell basic necessities more than the specified prices, to (the) DA office. For more information, please contact 0939-5666-8973,” she said.

Jocelyn Atos-Arango, a resident of this Legazpi City and mother of two children aged three years and eight years, welcomed the price freeze, calling it very timely as it would prevent retailers from taking advantage of the situation where the supply of meat products are limited in markets, resulting in higher prices.

“We know that our children are always craving for meat. But when prices are already almost exorbitant, we can only buy half a kilo with our very limited budget. When meat is cheap, at least we can buy a kilo or more,” she said.

Under the price cap order, pork is sold from P270 to P350 per kilo; beef, from P380 to P420 per kilo; and whole dressed chicken from P180 to P200 per kilo depending on the area in Bicol. (PNA)


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