As chair of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual called a special meeting today, 25 January 2023, to discuss measures to mitigate the effects of the rising prices of onion towards consumers and improve its supply.
Under Republic Act No. 7581 (RA7581), or the Price Act, as amended, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has jurisdiction over agricultural basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) such as rice, corn, cooking oil, and all agricultural and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, sugar, fresh fruits, onion, garlic, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, poultry, swine and cattle feeds, among others.
In the NPCC meeting attended by National Government Agencies (NGAs) who are also members of the council such as Department of Health (DOH), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), some legal actions and possible solutions to soaring prices were discussed extensively. The members of the body came up with inter-agency initiatives that will seek to address the rising prices of onions.
“Given this crucial situation, we are to deliver immediate results to temper the prices of goods and ensure the availability of affordable basic necessities and prime commodities for consumers. We must tap other agencies who can be our allies in this endeavor“, DTI Secretary Fred Pascual urged members of the council.
The DTI, as one of the implementing agencies of the Price Act, has been assisting the DA in monitoring prices of some agricultural products. Upon the publication of the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for red onions, Secretary Pascual immediately deployed price monitoring teams across the country to check its prices and supply in wet markets and supermarkets. Further, he also led the monitoring taskforce of the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) during the Ikot Palengke Program.
The Department is committed to assist DA in ensuring the availability of affordable red onions in the market and to stabilize market prices. Through the NPCC, the DTI assures the general public that the government is working hand-in-hand to address this issue, particularly the supply chain from the farmgate to the retailer, or to borrow the words of the President, “from farm to table.”
Meanwhile, the DTI urges business establishments to comply with the price freeze of basic necessities in areas declared under state of calamity.
Consumers are enjoined to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities and prime commodities above their suggested retail price via One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or email, ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph.