Former senator Jinggoy Estrada on Friday, Jan. 28 called on government to take swift and determined moves to block the impending hike in prices of basic commodities such as sardines, canned processed meat, bread, instant noodles and others.
Estrada, who is a member of the ten-man senatorial team endorsed by the UniTeam of Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte, said Filipinos should be spared of the price hikes that may be implemented soon.
“Poor Filipinos will bear the brunt of these price hikes. It’s a double-whammy – rising food costs amidst a sea of joblessness during the pandemic,” he stressed.
On Thursday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced the impending price hike of so-called shelf-keeping units like canned goods due to rising input costs.
“It seems the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) import strategy especially on pork and fish is a dismal failure. Despite the touted benefits of importing cheaper frozen meat and fish as inputs, the prices of canned meat and sardines continue to rise,” he stressed.
“The DA’s main justification for the unabated importation of hundreds of thousands of tons of fish and meat is to tame inflation. But why are prices of basic goods patronized by poor Filipinos still rising? ” the senatorial candidate said.
Estrada then urged the DA, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and DTI to immediately convene and find ways to stop the impending increase in the price of goods, especially processed food.
According to the former senator, the DA should take aggressive steps to stop the African Swine Flu and lead the revival of the country’s livestock industry with proper bio-security measures. He also urged DA to immediately distribute boats and fishing gear to typhoon victims so they could go back to sea and regain their livelihood.
“Most importantly, government should find ways to control the mark-ups of middlemen and traders. Because of uncontrolled margins of middlemen, the farmgate price of fish and meat almost doubles when they reach the country’s wet markets,” he said.