MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III said that little change in the high prices of basic commodities despite an abundance of supply in markets indicates the presence of price manipulators.
“The supply (of commodities) is abundant but the price keeps on getting jacked up. So ito ang isyu. Is somebody manipulating the prices rather than ang law of supply and demand taking such an action,” he said Tuesday during an interview on the sidelines of the celebration of the 67th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force in Angeles, Pampanga.
He said the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have deployed rolling stores to distribute commodities affected by the price increase but there has been little change in prices.
“Medyo substantial ang ina-unload on the market pero hindi daw ganun ka-substantial ang effect sa price,” he said.
The President said he has tasked the DA and the DTI to do phytosanitary testing on garlic recently confiscated by the Customs Bureau.
“If it passes, and in conformity with the law, we will unload all of this confiscated garlic to again ease the pressure on prices,” he said.
The President has also instructed the DTI to enforce the Price Act, warning that violators will face heavy fines and criminal charges.
“I understand marami-rami na rin ang mga nademanda at nahuli. I’m sorry, I don’t have the figures right here with me, pero marami-rami na rin ang sinita at pinanagot doon sa mga maling pagkilos nila,” the President added.
He also noted the rise in milk and bread prices because the country imports milk and flour.
“We will be taking steps to minimize the impact of such,” he said.