By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) stood by its decision that the implementation of suggested retail price (SRP) on select food items will only be applicable to individual vendors at public markets because customers buying at supermarkets are “economically better off.”
When asked for an update on the government’s SRP implementation and why it doesn’t cover supermarkets, DA spokesman Noel Reyes said that “supermarket customers are economically better off than those who buy basic food items at public markets.”
“The SRP policy applies only to public markets and not supermarkets,” Reyes further clarified. Reyes’ statement came as individual vendors at public markets have been complaining about the low SRP.
This, while some supermarkets in Metro Manila continue to sell products like pork and chicken way above the SRP.
In a separate interview, former Trade Undersecretary and Laban Konsyumer Inc. President Vic Dimagiba said Reyes should “correct” what he said immediately as this is “insulting to consumers”.
He even said that compare to individual vendors at public markets, supermarkets should find it easier to comply with SRP as they buy directly from broilers or integrators.
“There is shorter supply chain for supermarkets,” he said.
Dimagiba further said that thinking that only wealthy people go to supermarkets is “already old school”.
“More people now patronize supermarkets, even the bottom 30 percent of the population,” Dimagiba said.
“The SRP issued [by DA] are for selected agricultural commodities but not on selected retailers. It is always applicable for all,” he further said.
It was more than two weeks ago since the Philippine government, through the DA, decided to put a price cap on pork, chicken, among other food products.
Under the Price Act, the DA is directed, whenever necessary, to issue an SRP for any or all basic necessities and prime commodities under its jurisdiction for the information and guidance of producers, retailers, and consumers.
To be specific, an SRP of P190 per kilogram (/kg) has been set for pork (pigue/kasim); P130/kg for whole and dressed chicken; P45/kg for raw and brown sugar; P50 for refined sugar; P162/kg for bangus; P120/kg for tilapia; P130/kg for galunggong; P70/kg for imported garlic; P120/kg for local garlic; and P95/kg for red onion.
Based on the daily price monitoring of DA, the prevailing price for pork as of Monday is P190/kg for kasim and P230/kg for liempo; chicken is P150/kg; brown sugar is P40/kg; refined sugar is P48/kg; bangus is P160/kg; tilapia is P130/kg; galunggong is P200/kg; imported garlic is P140/kg; native garlic is averaging at P280/kg; and red onion is P80/kg.