Robredo urges gov’t to hold dialogue with pork vendors over price cap

Published February 15, 2021, 9:44 AM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo has called on the government to hold deeper consultations with vendors of pork and chicken as the imposition of a price cap forced many of them to go on a pork holiday last week. 

(MB FILE, Jansen Romero)

During the first day of the price cap on Monday last week, there were less pork and chicken in wet markets. In fact, in many markets in Metro Manila, particularly in San Andres and Quinta markets, there were limited or even zero stocks of pork and chicken. 

“Before they imposed the policy, they should have consulted with the stakeholders, the sectors that need to be consulted. Because for us, we understand why there is a proposal for a price ceiling. But this, Ka Ely, it wouldn’t have been a problem if there was a better consultation,” she said in Filipino over dzXL Sunday, Feb. 14. 

The vice president hopes the government acts swiftly on the problems of the price cap, and for the stakeholders to go back to the negotiation table to find a suitable solution to the issue. 

“In all of the policies, all the time, we hope this won’t be forgotten, we won’t forget the consultation with the sectors that will be affected,” Robredo said.

The prices of kasim, pige, and liempo started increasing in October last year. As of February 1, the national average farm gate price of hogs is at P171 per kilo, but can go as low as P132 per kilo and as high as P244 per kilo in some regions.

Once it reaches public markets and grocery stores, a kilo of pork can go as high as P380 to P400.

To stifle the prices, President Duterte earlier set a 60-day freeze on the prices of pork and chicken in Metro Manila, but this has been met with ire by local producers. Executive Order No. 124, which the President signed on February 1, set the price ceilings to P270 per kilo for kasim and pigue, P300 per kilo for liempo, and P160 per kilo for dressed chicken. 

But Robredo cited that interviews with pork vendors showed the price cap isn’t possible. 

“They will lose profits if they will sell (following the price cap). They said that the cost of raising alone, and the cost of production, they’re on the losing end,” she said.

Quoting the vendors, Robredo said the break-even price for them is to sell the pork at P330 to P380 per kilo. But even at this price point, the vendors are not going to make a profit if there is no government subsidy. 

“For me, there’s a need for discussion, there’s a need for consultation. Me, I have huge trust in (Agriculture) Secretary (William) Dar. We saw how he works. This is not politics. This is a professional. Maybe the consultation was just not adequate,” she said.

Robredo warned against the Department of Agriculture’s plan to get pork from Visayas and Mindanao regions. She said there was no mention of a surplus of pork supplies in those regions.