By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, on Tuesday, February 23, urged the government to act swiftly to address the needs of less fortunate Filipinos amid rising food prices in the country.
In a statement, Go said that (the year) 2020 has indeed been very challenging for our economy as the country battled numerous calamities which affected the lives of the ordinary Filipino and limited our access to a stable food supply.
“Unfortunately, this also led to a considerable increase in food prices,” Go said in his manifestation during a Senate public hearing conducted by the Committee on Agriculture on the rising food prices in the country.
“We cannot afford to impose additional burdens on ordinary Filipino families for they deserve quality, sufficient and nutritious food on their tables. After all, a progressive nation is founded on healthy and robust citizens,” he added.
Noting the actions taken by the government so far to address the issue at hand, Go commended President Rodrigo Duterte for issuing Executive Order No. 124 which addresses the rising prices of pork and chicken products by imposing a price ceiling for two months in Metro Manila, starting February 8.
“This urgent measure, under our Price Act, is necessary to lessen the adverse impacts of the natural calamities that ravaged our country,” Go pointed out.
“It ensures that meat products remain affordable and accessible to the public and also prevents price manipulation,” he added.
Go also appealed to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and the private sector to monitor the prices of food products and help each other in strengthening the country’s food security.
“Intindihin po natin na maraming nawalan ng kabuhayan at lahat ‘yan ay may mga pamilyang pinapakain,” Go pleaded.
“Bilang mambabatas, patuloy ang panawagan ko sa Department of Agriculture na maglatag ng long-term solutions towards food security,” he added.
The Senator also appealed to meat traders to comply with the government’s designated price ceiling for meat products.
“Huwag na po muna kayong magsagawa ng ‘holiday’ sa mga merkado dahil ang mahihirapan po dito kapag tumaas ang presyo ng pork at chicken ay ‘yung mga ordinaryong Pilipino, ‘yun pong mga kababayan nating naghihirap po, ‘yung mga ‘isang kahig, isang tuka’,” he urged them.
“Kaunting tiis lamang po at matatapos din ang problemang ito,” he added.
Throughout his recent visits to several provinces nationwide, Go said that he has observed the worrying situation of many Filipinos.
“Sa aking pag-iikot po sa buong bansa, nakita ko po ang nakakabahalang kalagayan ng ating mga kababayan. Nitong nagdaang mga buwan, naranasan po natin ang COVID-19 pandemic na nagdulot ng pagsara ng mga negosyo at kawalan ng trabaho,” Go recounted.
“Tinamaan din po tayo ng iba’t-ibang bagyo na nakasira sa ating mga produktong agrikultura. Bukod dito, kumalat din po ang African Swine Fever sa maraming lugar sa bansa. Marami na po ang lumapit sa akin upang humingi ng tulong at nang matugunan ang mga sitwasyong ito,” he added.
Go also urged the government and the private sector to help each other so the country could easily recover from the challenges it is facing.
“Kapag nagtulungan lang po ang gobyerno at ang private sector, malalampasan din ng ating bansa ang anumang pagsubok,” he urged.
“Let us balance the interests of everyone to achieve the common good,” he ended. (AI/MTVN)