The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said it shall set the suggested retail price (SRP) for red and white onions this week as it conducts inspections in cold storage facilities. In a teleradio interview, DA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista said this is the department’s strategy to protect consumers. “Kung hindi po bukas, sana by Wednesday. But the monitoring now is not only sa palengke, kundi pati po sa mga cold storages (If not tomorrow, hopefully by Wednesday. But the monitoring now is not only in the market but also in cold storages),” she said. “Even the privately-owned [cold storages] shall be visited by the BPI (Bureau of Plant Industry), field inspectors of DA, alongside the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) to see the prices of onions, who have entered it, as well as the outflow,” she added in mixed English and Filipino. The DA earlier said it would set a PHP140 per kilogram (kg) SRP for white onions, and PHP150/kg for red onions. Last Friday, the recorded prevailing price of local red and white onions in Metro Manila ranged from PHP160 to PHP200 per kilo. Meanwhile, Evangelista said some traders have agreed to set a cold storage wholesale price following their stakeholders’ meeting. “Kaya po ang sabi natin, ang wholesale na para sa cold storage, PHP115. Ito po ang napagkasunduan namin for the red and PHP100 for the white. ‘Yan po ang magiging basehan kung magkano naman dapat ibagsak sa palengke (That’s why we said, our wholesale [price] for cold storage is PHP115. This is what we have agreed on for the red and PHP100 for the white. That will be the basis how much it should be in the market),” she said. Such price considers the farm gate price at PHP75 to PHP85 during the harvest season. Evangelista said that for the retailers to implement a PHP150 market price, the price of onions from cold storage must reach at PHP125 to PHP130. “Kung mataas po ang bigay sa inyo ng inyong mga suki, hindi kayo makasunod sa retail price, mayroon naman kaming pwedeng i-offer sa inyo na itong mga ito ay willing. So ito po ‘yung pamamaraan para wala tayong excuse para di makasunod (If your suppliers’ price is high that you can’t adhere to the SRP, we can offer you options who are willing. So in this way, we have no excuses not to adhere to the [SRP]),” she said. Evangelista said various agencies are working on monitoring and coordination to ensure that no one will abuse the consumers. “Doon po natin makikita kung sino po ang kailangan ma-penalize sa pakikipagtulungan nga po ng ating local price coordinating council (That’s how we can see who should be penalized with the help of our local price coordinating council),” she said. Apart from the setting of SRP and coordination of the DA with the local government units, the department earlier assured it was considering other initiatives for inspection against price manipulation and calibrated importation.
Source: Philippines News Agency