The leader of the House of Representatives warned traders on Monday against exploiting the Christmas season to inflate prices.
This, after Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, along with Deputy Majority Leader for Communications and ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Erwin Tulfo, visited Farmers Plaza to ensure that the prices of essential goods, particularly during the Christmas season, adhere to the suggested retail prices (SRP).
To ensure ample stocks of Christmas food products, Romualdez urged suppliers to increase the delivery of essential items to retailers, small traders, and market stallholders throughout the holiday season.
“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.
“First and foremost, rice and other Noche Buena items should be accessible. Vegetables such as onions, garlic, tomatoes, cabbage, and others should be within reach of our fellow countrymen. We urge retailers to adhere to the SRP,” he added.
The speaker assured the public that the House of Representatives will use its oversight functions, emphasizing its role in combating inflation and safeguarding low commodity prices, to protect consumers from hoarding, price manipulation, and unjustified price hikes.
“Our primary task here is to protect people’s welfare by providing them with the most affordable goods in the market,” he said, 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.
Tulfo echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need to secure sufficient Christmas food product stocks for the benefit of the Filipino people.
“We will continue the all-out war against profiteers preying on hapless consumers,” Tulfo said.
Moreover, 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.
He said these congressional hearings resulted in a drastic drop in onion prices from P700 to P160 per kilo.
The Speaker also highlighted the House’s recent approval of a bill amending and expanding the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, aiming to classify the smuggling of rice and other agricultural products as “economic sabotage” and provide life imprisonment for violators.
“The House will continue to pass similar legislative measures to help the agricultural sector and support the prosperity agenda of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Romualdez Marcos Jr.,” said Romualdez.
Image credits: Nonoy Lacza