The House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture and Food, and Trade and Industry lamented the unabated rising prices of agricultural commodities, especially pork and vegetables in a joint hearing Thursday, Nov. 19.
The inquiry of the committees, chaired by Quezon Province Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga and Navotas City Rep. John Reynald Tiangco, respectively, was based on House Resolution 987 filed by Magsasaka Partylist Rep. Argel Joseph Cabatbat, HR 1495 by Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, HRs 1504 and 1505 by AGAP Partylist Rep. Rico Geron, HR 1512 by Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo; HR 1515 by Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, HR 1522 by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, HR 1526 by Parañaque City Rep. Joy Myra Tambunting, HR 1556 by Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, and HR 1587 by Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas.
Enverga, in his opening remarks, said the hearing seeks to know the score on pork importation and the status of the Department of Agriculture’s intervention programs to ease the livestock sector’s hardships.
“Ano na po ang status ng programang ito,” Enverga said. “While we acknowledge the efforts of the government to ensure food supply stability and curb inflation, Congress remains vigilant and continues to monitor the impact of government interventions to ease prices of agricultural commodities.” The Quezon Province 1st District congressman added that the joint committee was also informed during the previous hearing that chillers will be provided to selected public markets in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Tiangco, on the other hand, said that the DA should prioritize its study on the price structure of agricultural commodities to determine the appropriate actions needed.
Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin Adriano, meanwhile, gave a presentation on what the DA is doing regarding the rising prices of food commodities and fertilizers.
The presentation discussed topics like the inflation rates of selected food items from January to October 2021, the monthly global fertilizer prices from September 2020 to September 2021, and the Philippine inflation rate from January to October 2021, among other things.
Adriano also tackled the reason behind the rising inflation and the DA’s plans to address the prices of agricultural goods.
Other issues discussed during the hearing were the reduction of tariff on corn importation, organic fertilizer program, budget for the chillers, and minimum access volume plus scheme for imported pork meat. (Melvin Sarangay)