By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has included on Monday more basic agricultural and fishery commodities in Metro Manila that will be covered by suggested retail prices (SRPs).
DA Secretary William Dar said the issuance of SRPs on selected agricultural and fishery products will ensure the availability of basic commodities at reasonable price amid a public health crisis.
Under Republic Act 7581, the Price Act, prices of basic necessities in an area shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control whenever an area is proclaimed or declared a disaster area or under a state of calamity.
The DA has the power to implement a suggested retail price anytime “for the information and guidance of producers, manufacturers, traders, dealers, sellers, retailers, and consumers.”
“There are SRPs that have been sustained and will be continued. We have also included more commodities that will be covered by the price freeze being implemented in Metro Manila,” Dar said.
The SRP for basic agricultural and fishery goods are as follows: milkfish or bangus (cage-cultured)- P162 per kilogram (kg) ; tilapia (pond-cultured, fresh-chilled) – P120 per kg; imported roundscad or galunggong – P130 per kg; local galunggong – P130 per kg; pork (pigue/kasim) – P190 per kg; pork liempo – P225 per kg; chicken (whole) – P130 per kg; sugar (refined) – P50 per kg; sugar (brown) – P45 per kg; fresh red onion – P95 per kg; fresh garlic (imported variety) – P70 per kg; fresh garlic (local variety) – P120 per kg; chicken egg (medium) – P6.50 per piece; 30 mL cooking oil – P24; and 1 liter cooking oil – P50.
In addition, the DA has issued SRP for imported rice: special (P51 per kg), premium (P42 per kg), well-milled (P40 per kg), and regular (P39 per kg).
For local rice, the following SRP are: special (P53 per kg), premium (P45 per kg), well-milled (P40 per kg), and regular (P33 per kg).
Dar said that a price freeze on basic agricultural and fishery commodities is also being implemented in other regions.
“Last week, the Local Price Coordinating Councils have been advised by our regional field directors of the SRPs. Based on their analysis, the one-month prices prior to the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) implementation will be the basis of the prices,” he said.
The price freeze policy is contained under a joint memorandum circular forged by the DA, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Health.
It covers all persons, including those who sell through the internet or other media. The violators of the Price Act will be fined P5,000 to P2 million and will face imprisonment between five and 15 years. (