MANILA, Philippines—Increases in the prices of basic commodities like rice, fish and vegetables are only “temporary” and are expected to normalize soon, government agencies said on Saturday.
Price monitoring by government agencies in Pasay City showed the price of premium commercial rice rose by P2 a kilo, while the prices of regular and premium NFA rice remained at P27 and P32, respectively.
Agriculture and trade officials, however, could not immediately point to the cause of the price hike.
Agriculture Director Leandro Gazmin said the prices of some vegetables like cabbage, Baguio beans, pechay and onions may have risen due to reduced deliveries. Truck deliveries from Benguet were reportedly affected by the flooding brought by the intense monsoon rains and Tropical Storm “Maring.”
“We see temporary price increases in fish and vegetables, the problem is not in the supply but in the distribution. Once the flooding subsides the prices will normalize,” Gazmin said.
The agriculture official said the prices of sea-harvested fish such as alumahan similarly increased due to the difficulty of catching fish during Maring.
According to a price list provided by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the cost of one kilo of alumahan rose last week by P40, or from P120 a kilo to P160.
Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo reported that the prices of other basic goods like bread, sardines and noodles remained stable.
“There was no movement in the price of dry goods such as canned goods, bread and noodles. The manufacturers of dry goods guaranteed us that they would not increase their prices and would ensure the adequate supply of goods in the market,” Domingo said.
Prices of chicken, pork and farm-harvested fish products like bangus and tilapia also remained steady.
According to Domingo, Diskwento Caravans will be organized in areas affected by Maring to provide these communities with a cheaper source of basic goods. Discounts range from 10 percent to as high as 40 percent.
Domingo warned unscrupulous traders that those who violate the price freeze in areas placed under a state of calamity without adequate justification for their price movements will be slapped a fine of up to P1 million and/or imprisonment of up to 10 years.