By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Imee Marcos has questioned the disconnect between high food prices and the reported decrease in the country’s inflation rate.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said that if the inflation rate, which is heavily indexed on food, has really eased to 4.5%, then food prices should have already gone down.
“The NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) claims inflation is down but food remains pricey and unmoving. I trust NEDA but no one is feeling lower inflation, with such expensive food,” Marcos said.
Marcos added that lifting the strict enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR Plus bubble of Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces should have also helped in reducing market prices.
“As usual, the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) is sleeping on the job while abusive traders and retailers are having a ball,” Marcos said.
“The DTI’s price watch has become meaningless to 4.2 million Filipinos who have lost their jobs and have no money to spend, plus the 6.6 million who are looking for additional work to make ends meet,” Marcos added, citing employment data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
A week before an ECQ was imposed March 29 in the NCR Plus bubble, per kilo wet market prices ranged from Php320-Php370 for pork liempo, Php300-Php350 for pork kasim, Php130-P185 for bangus, Php100-P150 for tilapia, Php240-Php300 for alumahan, and Php165-Php200 for chicken.
Last Friday, prices reached as high as Php420 for pork liempo and Php380 for pork kasim, Php200 for bangus and Php340 for alumahan, with tilapia prices unchanged, and only chicken easing to Php130 to Php180.
“The DTI should step up its surprise inspections and not hesitate to apprehend profiteers and make an example of them,” Marcos said. (AI/MTVN)