Imported pork sold in supermarkets covered by price ceiling too, Palace says

Published February 4, 2021, 7:09 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government will enforce a price ceiling on imported pork products sold in supermarkets in Metro Manila to ensure consumer protection, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has committed to closely monitor the compliance with the 60-day price cap on such meat products.

“Hindi ba dapat lamang na kapag magkakaroon ng price cap ay kaparehong may price cap sa palengke at sa supermarket, lalo na nga sa supermarket dahil mas mura nilang naaangkat iyong baboy? (Shouldn’t there be a price cap in supermarkets similar to the public markets since they import cheaper pork products?),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday.

“Nangako po ang ating DTI sa pamamagitan ni Secretary (Ramon) Lopez na henceforth, unang-una magkakaroon po ng label na imported ang baboy na binibenta sa supermarket. At kapag ito po ay imported na baboy nga, subject na rin po siya sa price cap (Our DTI, through Secretary Lopez, has promised that henceforth, imported pork products in supermarkets will have labels. And if the pork product is imported, it will be subject to the price cap),” he added.

President Duterte has ordered the imposition of a 60-day price ceiling on select pork and chicken products In Metro Manila after prices surged due to a supply shortage caused by the African Swine Fever outbreak.

Under Executive Order No. 124, the government set the price ceilings of P270 per kilogram for kasim/ pigue, P300 per kilo for liempo, and P160 a kilo for dressed chicken. The implementation of the price cap is set to begin on Feb. 8.

According to Roque, imported pork costs around P114 per kilogram, including tariff, while local hog raisers sell their product at P171 for a kilo. He expressed concern that the cheaper pork imports might impact the livelihood of local hog raisers.

“So napakamura. Anong mangyayari diyan? Eh baka tuluyang mawala na iyong mga local producers. (It is very cheap. What will happen there? Our local producers might completely disappear),” he said.

“Kaya nga po nag-iingat tayo pagdating doon sa desisyon kung ilan ang aangkatin from abroad. At ang ating priority ay mag-aangkat muna tayo galing sa Visayas at Mindanao (So we are careful in deciding how much will be imported abroad. Our priority is to get supply from Visayas and Mindanao for the meantime),” he added.

Roque said the principle of equal protection clause must be followed even in the sale of the meat products in public markets and groceries.

“Kinakailangan things similarly situated must be treated alike. Eh ano ba ang pagkakaiba sa baboy sa supermarket at baboy sa palengke. Sabihin mo nang mayroon silang mga additional overhead, eh kapag sila naman ay nag-angkat, mas mura kaysa doon sa binili sa lokal. So ngayon po, patas – magkakaroon po ng label sa supermarket at ito po ay isa-subject din sa ating price cap (Things similar situated must be treated alike. What’s the difference between the pork sold in the supermarket and the public market? Let’s say they have an additional overhead but when they import such product, it is still cheaper than those produced locally. So now, it must be fair. There will be labels in the supermarket and will be subject to the price cap),” he said.