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Monday, May 27, 2024

Speaker to lead investigation on retail, farmgate price gap

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Speaker Martin Romualdez on Wednesday said he would spearhead an investigation in aid of legislation into the widening gap between farmgate and retail prices of rice and other basic goods once the House of Representatives resumes its session on Monday.

Romualdez and House Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Erwin Tulfo of ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo recently met with representatives of producers, retailers and grocery stores, who denied making any substantial price changes.

“I would ask Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, committee on agriculture chairman, to immediately start the ball rolling for an investigation into the disconnect between farmgate and retail prices of basic goods,” said Romualdez.

“The discrepancy between farmgate and retail prices of basic goods is alarming and warrants immediate attention. We cannot ignore the plight of our farmers who are struggling to make ends meet, nor can we turn a blind eye to the burden placed on consumers,” the House Speaker added.

During their meeting, Jayson Cainglet of Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) informed Romualdez that the farmgate prices of rice, poultry, pork and onions have been maintained in the past three months, so there should be no increase in their prices.

Romualdez assured the producers and retailers that Congress would look into the price discrepancy in the exercise of its oversight function as he also committed to conduct a thorough review of existing laws to protect the interest of both consumers and producers and deter profiteering.

“It is imperative that we conduct a comprehensive review of our laws to ensure that they effectively safeguard the interests of our farmers and consumers. We must take proactive measures to prevent profiteering and promote a fair and transparent trading environment,” the Speaker said.

Romualdez called on all stakeholders, including government agencies, industry representatives and consumer advocacy groups, to actively participate in the probe and contribute to the formulation of effective policy interventions.

The review aims to identify and address loopholes that may contribute to profiteering and unfair pricing practices within the supply chain, he noted.

“We want to make sure that all the stakeholders in whatever industry or sectors are viable, if they are in the business side of it, so that it becomes sustainable so that we can continue delivering basic goods and services to the consumers at sustainable, affordable prices,” Romualdez stressed.

The Leyte representative said the House remains committed to supporting safety nets and even expanding them to cushion the impact of the rising food prices on the most vulnerable sectors of society.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline Romualdez to lead House probe on widening gap between farmgate, retail prices of rice

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