MANILA -- Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel PiAol is toying with the idea of displaying tarpaulins showing suggested retail prices of agricultural products in markets to curb profiteering.
"SRP information shown in those tarpaulins will help guide consumers accordingly," he said at the 120th-anniversary celebration of the Department of Agriculture on Monday.
PiAol said the idea of hanging tarpaulins was raised by an online follower of his.
"It's a good idea," he remarked.
Through an administrative circular PiAol issued on Monday, the DA is setting caps to certain food item prices in Metro Manila, mainly fish and rice, to protect consumers against unscrupulous traders.
The price caps will take effect after publication of the DA directive in major newspapers.
Raising public awareness about SRPs can be one deterrent against profiteering, PiAol said.
The DA has set SRPs for regular milled rice (PHP39/kilo), medium to big milkfish of two to five pieces per kilo (PHP150/kilo), medium-sized tilapia of six pieces per kilo (PHP100/kilo), medium galunggong of 11 to 20 pieces per kilo (PHP140/kilo), red onion (PHP95/kilo), white onion (PHP75/kilo), imported variety garlic (PHP70/kilo), and local variety garlic (PHP120/kilo).
"Selling prices of such commodities must not exceed 10 percent of the SRPs or violators will be charged with profiteering," PiAol said.
Violators face imprisonment and fine of up to around PHP1 million.
PiAol added that SRPs in Baguio and other regional centers nationwide might also be set to ensure the availability of affordable food for Filipinos.
Having SRPs is a way to prevent retail prices from soaring out of control, he noted.
Meanwhile, the DA honored the late former Senate President Edgardo Angara for increasing the country's food production when he was the Agriculture chief under former president Joseph Estrada's administration.
Angara's family, including his son Sen. Sonny Angara, received a plaque of honor from DA.
Thanking the DA for the recognition, the young Angara said, "My father was a great believer in DA's capacity to support our people."
He said his late father would have been "very proud" of the DA if he were alive today.
Under PiAol's watch, the DA has initiated measures for helping boost agricultural production nationwide to promote food security for the country and the welfare of small farmers and fisherfolk through credit access.
Sufficiency in corn and record rice production are some of the country's agricultural gains in the last two years, PiAol said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency