Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Monday visited the Farmers Plaza in Cubao, Quezon City to ensure that the costs of basic commodities, especially food items, remain within the bounds of suggested retail prices (SRP).
Romualdez was accompanied by Deputy Majority Leader for Communications and ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Erwin Tulfo in making the rounds of the stalls at Farmers Plaza, the hub for fresh goods for eastern Metro Manila.
“We want to make sure that traders do not take advantage of the holiday season to jack up prices of basic commodities. The Christmas season is meant to be a time of giving and compassion, and we want to make sure that prices of goods are affordable to a great majority of our people,” Romualdez said
“We appeal to retailers to follow the SRP,” the leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives, added.
Romualdez said part of the oversight functions of the House of Representatives is to fight inflation and make sure that the prices of commodities are low.
“Our primary task here is to protect people’s welfare by providing them with the most affordable goods in the market,” he stressed, adding that people should be protected from hoarding, price manipulation, and unreasonable price increases.
“It is a reaffirmation of our commitment to ensuring fair pricing and protecting consumers’ interests by fighting hoarding and exorbitant prices,” Romualdez said.
He has encouraged suppliers to double the delivery of necessary items to retailers, small traders, and market stallholders until the end of the holiday season.
For his part, Tulfo said it is in the best interests of the Filipino people to ensure enough stocks of Christmas food products.
Under the leadership of Speaker Romualdez, Tulfo said the House of Representatives will do these price checks in markets on a regular basis.
“We will continue the all-out war against profiteers preying on hapless consumers,” Tulfo said.
Romualdez warned against the greed of traders exploiting supply and prices, referencing the House’s success in revealing those behind onion price manipulations.
“Remember, the House, through the Committee on Agriculture and Food led by our dedicated and focused Chairman Mark Enverga, successfully unmasked the personalities involved in the hoarding and price manipulation of onions after concluding a four-month investigation,” he added.
Romualdez said these congressional hearings resulted in the drastic drop in onion prices from P700 to P160 per kilo.
Last September, the House also approved on the third and final reading a bill amending and expanding the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act by providing life imprisonment to those who will be found guilty of violating the economic sabotage law.
The new bill classifies the smuggling of rice and other agricultural products as economic sabotage.
“The House will continue to pass similar legislative measures to help the agricultural sector and support the prosperity agenda of President Marcos,” said Romualdez.