Senatorial aspirant and human rights lawyer Jose Manuel ‘Chel’ Diokno on Monday, October 25, called on the government to impose a price ceiling on the prices of goods amid the increase of fuel prices for the ninth straight week.
Diokno, who run for senator but lost in the 2019 elections, said that the recent increase of the prices of goods is another burden to Filipinos this pandemic that even the more fortunate are reeling from it.
“Dapat magpatupad ng agarang price ceiling ang pamahalaan sa presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin habang may pandemya. Pagaanin natin kahit pano ang buhay ng mga kababayan nating naghihirap ngayon (The government should impose a price ceiling on the goods in the primary market because of the pandemic. Let us ease the burden of our fellowmen who are suffering now),” he said in a statement.
A price ceiling is a government-imposed and -implemented policy that sets the highest rate at which goods and services can be sold.
The government has imposed such measure when prices of pork increased exponentially shortly before the pandemic because of the spread of the African swine flu (ASF).
Diokno, who heads the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), lamented the untimely increase in the prices of commodities.
“Marami sa atin, hindi pa nga makabangon sa pandemya, lalo pang nadidiin dahil sa pagtaas ng presyo ng pagkain at iba pang bilihin (Many of us haven’t even risen up from the pandemic, but are suffering more because of the increase in the prices of food and others),” he said.
“Dagdag pasanin yan sa mga Pilipino, lalo na para sa napakaraming wala pa ring trabaho o pagkakakitaan dahil sa pandemya (That’s an added burden to Filipinos, especially since many do not have jobs or livelihood because of the pandemic),” the lawyer added.
Politicians have also been calling for the suspension of the excise taxes on petroleum products to soften the blow on the consumers.
Vice President Leni Robredo, under which ticket Diokno is running as senator, has also called on the government to freeze the excise taxes on fuel. This, she said, was something she has pushed for in 2018 when oil prices ballooned, too.