Workers group Associated Labor Unions (ALU) has called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to bring prices of basic commodities down to reasonable level as soon as possible.
The group said workers particularly those receiving the minimum wage are outraged over the exorbitant hike in prices of basic food items amid the ongoing national economic and health crises caused by the coronavirus-19 pandemic.
These basic and prime commodities, ALU said, are rice, vegetables, livestock meat and poultry products including cooking fuel liquified petroleum product (LPG) being sold at public markets, grocery stores and supermarkets.
According to ALU, workers noted the increments in prices picked up a week leading to the traditional Christmas family celebration and New Year revelry despite the 60-day price freeze imposed by multi-government agencies task force beginning November 18, 2020 to January 17, 2021 on basic and prime commodities.
“The combined government agencies had already identified the gaps and problematic layers giving rise to these runaway prices of basic food commodities, the DA and the DTI now have to step up their price regulation mandate and level up their enforcement to further improve protection of consumers particularly against profiteers, supply hoarders and middlemen victimizing retailers and ordinary people, ” said ALU national executive vice president Gerard Seno in a statement Tuesday.
The labor group said the two agencies must move beyond mere token market inspections and other media photo-ops in groceries and supermarkets and improve consumer protection by issuing show-cause orders and notices of violations to erring businesses who raise prices right under their noses.
“The issuance of show-cause orders and notices of violations on the violators of the Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act will begin to address profiteering issues from manufacturing, distribution and supply, to retail levels,” Seno said.