February 23 ------ The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Monday, February 22, that it will study whether or not to recommend the lifting of the price ceiling being implemented by the government on pork and chicken products. “We are going to study…’yong price ceiling kung pwedeng ipahinto na, ire-recommend na kay President, or not (the price ceiling if we can already lift it, if we can recommend to the President whether to lift it or not),” DA Secretary William Dar said in the Senate Committee on Agriculture’s hearing into the spike of food prices in the country.
“So pag-aaralan po namin,” he said. It was the DA that recommended to President Duterte to impose a 60-day price ceiling for pork and chicken products in the National Capital Region in attempt to arrest the soaring prices of the commodity. The price cap, which took effect last February 8, was set at P270 per kilogram for pork kasim and pigue, P300/kg for pork liempo, and P160/kg for dressed chicken.
Meat vendors, however, complained about the amounts set, citing the high cost of the products they got from their suppliers. Several “pork holidays” were staged in markets to protest the President’s order. Senator Risa Hontiveros, during Monday’s hearing, said the 60-day price cap imposed was “too long” and could lead to the permanent closure of meat stalls.
“Baka po imbes na pork holiday lang, eh mapilitan nang tuluyang mag-resign ang ating mga magbababoy,” she said. Dar maintained that the country has “enough supply” of pork, and that “even the prices are going down”. The price cap, he said, “is working”.