Anakpawis Partylist, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and other concerned groups trooped to the Litex Market in Commonwealth, Quezon City this afternoon to demand the national government to ensure a price freeze on the wholesale prices of essential goods and foodstuff, particularly lowland and highland veggies, fruits, meat, poultry, and fish products. 

Anakpawis and KMP say that this measure will help control skyrocketing food prices, now at shocking levels and grossly unaffordable for ordinary wage earners and the increasing jobless population affected by the pandemic.

On November 25, 2020, the government imposed a 60-day price freeze after declaring a state of calamity in Luzon following a series of typhoons and flooding.

In December 2020, the inflation rate increased to a 21-month-high 3.5 percent. For the whole of 2020, the annual inflation of food and drinks was at 4.8%, pork products at 10%, vegetables at 19.7%, 6.3% in fruits, 3.1% in fish products, and 8.3% in transportation. A 3.7% rise in inflation was registered outside NCR. Food price hikes were felt immediately by poor and marginalized sectors. There is also a trend of price hikes globally, generating food riots in several countries.

This month, the Filipino people are again overwhelmed by the shocking prices of food, as market and retail prices of food rose to as much as P50-P100 per kilo for various products. Based on the latest price monitors of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the per kilogram prices of common foodstuff are as follows:

Ampalaya – P200
Sitaw – P140
Pechay – P100
Squash – P130
Eggplant – P210/4 bundles
Tomato – P130
Cabbage – P220
Carrots – P160
Patatas – P150
Onion – P130
Garlic – P130
Chili (Labuyo) – P700-P1000
Pork – P400-P440
Bangus – P170-P220
Tilapia – P140-P160
Galunggong – P260-P280

Actual prices can be higher in the market while the daily minimum wage of workers in the National Capital Region remains pegged at Php537/day. Prices of several goods and food products are even higher in the provinces, where wage rates are much lower. “Marami ang nawalan ng trabaho at kabuhayan dahil sa pandemya. Hindi naman tumaas ang sahod ng mga manggagawa at halos walang ayuda ang gobyerno sa mga walang mahanap na trabaho. Ngayon mas tumaas ang pa ang presyo ng lahat ng bilihin at pagkain, paano na kakain at mabubuhay ang mga tao?,” Anakpawis Secretary General Cathy Estavillo says.

KMP demands the provision of immediate food subsidies to the poorest of the poor. “In the long term, the government should overhaul its policies to ensure domestic food supplies. Local production should be strengthened, and veer way from dependence on unreliable food imports, KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos explains.

The groups also pointed out that the government and Department of Agriculture’s Plant, Plant, Plant program is an “epic failure” in ensuring the food security of Filipinos. “We can expect hunger incidence to worsen in the coming months as global food prices continue to increase, and the government persists on failed policies. Imbes na zero-hunger ang mangyari, lahat nagugutom!” Ramos, ends. #

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