Pork, used in most everyday dishes in the Philippines, has become so expensive in January along with other food staples that household budgets are struggling to keep up. One senator wants to investigate the cause.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan sought the inquiry to find out why food prices are rising and how to bring them down. He said the price spikes and resulting hunger could bring greater harm than the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Hindi natin pwedeng sabihin sa mga kababayan natin na ‘stay healthy’ habang hinihintay ang bakuna kung wala namang makain o kaya napakataas ng presyo ng pagkain," said Pangilinan who chairs the Senate Committee on Food.
Based on the Department of Agriculture’s price watch, these are some of the food prices per kilo: pork liempo (P450), regular milled rice (P40), galunggong (280 pesos), dressed chicken (P185), eggplant (P200); cabbage (P230), and siling labuyo (P1,000).
Supply is down, Pangilinan said. African Swine Fever in some parts of the country exacerbated the impact of typhoons towards the end of 2020. There's also the seasonal closed fishing season due to cold weather, he said.
Agriculture Sec. William Dar ordered early this month the immediate increase in shipments of hogs to Metro Manila and other parts in Luzon from Visayas, Mindanao, and other ASF-free areas in Luzon, to stabilize the price of pork.