Aiming to help Filipinos who have been suffering due to rising prices of goods, a suggested retail price (SRP) has been issued for red onions, setting this at P125 per kilogram now which is much lower than the previous retail prices that even reached P600 per kilogram.
Following the directive from President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., who is concurrently Agriculture secretary, to gather all stakeholders and address the issue of overpriced red onions in the market, the Department of Agriculture (DA) issued an SRP of P125 per kilogram for medium-sized and big-sized imported red onion in wet markets within the National Capital Region.
“In order not to aggravate the current difficulties of the Filipino people affected by the pandemic and rising fuel prices, there is a need to guide the consuming public on the reasonable prices of basic necessities in the market,” read the DA Administrative Circular No. 5, dated February 6, 2023.
With the skyrocketing retail price of red onions that reached P600 per kilogram in the last week of December 2022, the DA issued a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance for the importation of onions to augment local supply.
The DA’s regular monitoring of basic necessities and prime commodities provided basis to set the SRP.
"The SRP shall take effect immediately after its publication and remain in effect for 60 days from its approval unless revised, revoked and/or lifted," it was noted.
Under the Republic Act (RA) No. 7581 or the Price Act, the State shall ensure “the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at reasonable prices at all times without denying legitimate business a fair return on investment.”
It also emphasized the "policy of the State to provide effective and sufficient protection to consumers against hoarding, profiteering and cartels with respect to the supply, distribution, marketing and pricing of said goods, especially during periods of calamity, emergency, widespread illegal price manipulation and other similar situations.”
The implementing rules and regulations of RA No. 7581 empowers and directs the DA to issue an SRP for any or all basic necessities and prime commodities under its jurisdiction to guide producers, retailers, and consumers.
The agriculture department, on the other hand, still recognizes the challenge that some sellers might still refuse to follow the SRP.
"Ang problema po namin ngayon, may P125 tayo na SRP, 'yan ba ay susundin naman (Our problem now is that we have P125 per kilogram SRP, but will they follow it)?” DA Deputy Spokesperson Rex Estoperez said.