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The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive order imposing price cap on pork and chicken in the National Capital Region only covers public or wet markets.

On Monday, Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 124, which imposed a price ceiling on pigue at P270 per kilo, liempo at P300 per kilo, and dressed chicken at P160 per kilo for 60 days in Metro Manila.

During the House Committee on Agriculture and Food hearing on rising prices of agri commodities, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the price ceiling will be “effectively enforced by Feb. 8, 2021 by all the institutions involved — the local price coordinating council in every LGU in Metro Manila, to be supported by DA, DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and many other departments.”

The Agriculture chief emphasized that the EO on price cap on pork and chicken “will be good in public markets.”

“Itong price ceiling na ito ay para lang sa public markets. Bakit hindi pa isama ang supermarket? Para may option naman ang mamimili,” Dar said.

He said that a "good number" of supermarkets are selling pork at much lower prices than public or wet markets.

The imposition of price ceiling may be extended provided there is a recommendation from the DA and approval of the President, according to the EO.

Dar has blamed unscrupulous traders and wholesalers for the spike in pork prices amid the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

He said some traders and wholesalers are making a large profit margin of more than P200 per kilo, between the farmgate price of live hogs and retail price of pork in public markets.

But Nicanor Briones, vice president of Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc., denied that traders are involved in the alleged price manipulation.

“Hindi po totoo 'yan dahil naghahanap siya (Agriculture Secretary William Dar) ng puwedeng pagsisihan kung bakit tumataas nang malaki ang presyo ng baboy,” Briones said in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB on Tuesday.

Last week, the government’s COVID-19 task force backed the unhampered passage of hog shipment from Visayas and Mindanao.

Imported pork will also start arriving in February from ASF-free countries, totaling 54,000 metric tons, the DA said.? —KBK, GMA News

This article DA says supermarkets not covered by price cap on pork, chicken was originally published in GMA News Online.

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