Spike in garlic prices is product of manipulation — Villar

By on July 3, 2014

Sen. Cynthia Villar (Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile in the background). Photo from  Villar's Facebook page.
Sen. Cynthia Villar (Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile in the background). Photo from Villar’s Facebook page.

MANILA—With the very small cost of production of garlic, Senate committee on agriculture chairperson Sen. Cynthia Villar believes there is a price manipulation that resulted in the 900 percent jump in the prices of garlic.

“It is really a product of price manipulation,” Villar said in the Senate inquiry into the high prices of agricultural products specifically garlic on Thursday.

Bureau of Customs (BOC) deputy commissioner Agaton Teodoro Uvero confirmed Villar’s findings that the landed price of the imported garlic from China is only P17 per kilo including import duties but sold up to P300 per kilo in the market.

On the other hand, Villar said the cost of local production is only P40 per kilo but the current sale retail price is P180 per kilo.

“How can P17 and P40 go to P280 up to P300 per kilo? Why in heaven’s name allowed this too much profiteering. It’s very unreasonable price,” Villar said.

“I think I’m in the wrong business. I should transfer in the garlic industry,” Villar, whose family owns one of the country’s leading real estate companies, added.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) undersecretary for consumer welfare and business regulation group Victorio Mario Dimagiba agreed that price manipulation was the culprit behind the 900 percent profit imposed by the garlic traders.

“We agreed to you madam senator that there is price manipulation,” Dimagiba said.

Dimagiba said the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) is now investigating the spike in the prices of garlic and other agricultural products upon order of President Benigno Aquino III.

“President Aquino has ordered us to immediately investigate and we already asked the assistance of the NBI (national bureau of investigation) and CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) on this matter,” Dimagiba said.

The DTI official said price manipulation is punishable by 15 years imprisonment and P2 million fine.

However, Villar said the penalty is too small compared to the billions of pesos being earned by the unscrupulous traders from overpriced garlic.

Department of Agriculture (DA) assistant secretary Leandro Gazmin ruled out that the shortage of supply was the cause of the spike in the prices of garlic.

“Although the price of garlic is high, there is still supply in the market,” Gazmin said.

Villar encouraged the government to boost the local garlic production which supplies only eight percent of the total demand in the market.

“We found out that garlic is very important and we should improve our local production. Our local garlic is better than the imported ones,” Villar said.

Villar urged the DA to immediately create Consumer Protection Group provided under Republic Act 10623 or Price Act of 2012 that will monitor in the prices of agricultural products.

Villar said the reasonable price of garlic should be P80 to P100 only, saying “beyond this amount is tantamount profiteering.”

“There should be SRP (sale retail price) in the agricultural products,” she said.

Villar also appealed to the National Garlic Action Team (NGAT) composed of garlic farmers cooperatives to watch their industry from unscrupulous traders.

Senator Grace Poe, during the Senate inquiry, encouraged the DTI and the DA to act fast and be more vigilant in monitoring and controlling the prices of basic commodities.

“There has to be more vigilance on your part. If you see that there is a jump of 900 percent, right away you should already call the attention of the DA, right away the DA should already call the attention of the cooperatives that sold their rights to the traders,” Poe told the resource persons from DTI and DA.

  • Eugenio Lopez

    PRICE MANIPULATION has been happening eversince. And these TRADERS are mainly CHINESE BUSINESSMEN in the Province controlling the supply of agricultural products. They’ve been doing that on the Supply of Rice, controlling it para magka Rice Shortage which in effect increases the Price of Rice. Pero never naman talaga nagka RICE SHORTAGE sa Pilipinas. Enough ang Pino-PRODUCE ng ating mga local farmers. No need to import. Tinatago lang talaga ng mga Intsik na ito ang Rice sa knilang mga GIANT RICE MILLS. Kapg mataas na ang presyo ng bigas, ilalabas na nila. Now that’s an EASY WAY TO GET MILLIONS OF MONEY. GINATASAN na naman ng mga Intisk ang naghihirap na si Juan Dela Cruz.

    Magkano na ba ang kilo ng bigas ngayon, around 40 pesos na, e dati mga 17pesos lang yan. Dapat i-inspect ng DAR ang mga GIANT Rice mills na to kung saan nakatago ang mga tone-toneladang bigas. Pinagpaguran yan ni Juan na ANIHIN, tapos NANAKAWIN lang mga NEGOSYANTENG INTSIK na ito para kumita lamang ng pera. SO GREEDY. That’s why they getting richer kasi they are robbing Juan Dela Cruz eversince. They are even CONSPIRING TO OUR CORRUPT POLITICIANS to exploit us more and advance their ILLEGAL BUSINESSES. Pero of course UNDER THE PROTECTION of the COrrupt Politician, that’s why their business are thriving because the profit is coming from Public Funds taken from the local government, and INJECTED in the Chinese Businesses. They are not getting rich because of hardwork, but because these Chinese are STEALING money from Juan Dela Cruz. It’s a fact we should solve before all our money are stolen by these exploiters!

    • Eugenio Lopez

      If we can JAIL SENATORS, we should also JAIL THESE CHINESE BUSINESSMEN/TRADERS. :Let’s start with DAVID TAN a.k.a David Bangayan. These Chinese Traders have been exploiting us ever since. There are a lot of Businessmen like DAVID TAN in the Provinces who are PLAGUING the LOCAL MARKET, HOARDING the AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, then MANIPULATING the price of the goods. We should call on the SENATE and SC to INVESTIGATE on this and PURSUE this case.

      This is an immediate ISSUE. This a thing that is easily felt by the common Filipino. Kapag tumaas ang presyo ng mga bilihin, WALA NA NAMANG MAKAKAIN SI JUAN. I’m challenging INQUIRER to OPEN THIS ISSUE ON THE MEDIA, and DON’T STOP until the likes of DAVID TAN is in JAIL. If we can jail a President and Senators, we can SURELY HOLD these CHINESE BUSINESSMEN into account and PUT THEM INTO JAIL.

      • Eugenio Lopez

        Kaya yumayaman yang mga katulad nila Henry Sy, Gokongwei and other CHINESE BILLIONAIRES kasi dito sila nag-umpisa sa ganitong practice. They were once EXPLOITERS TOO. Yayaman ka nga naman talaga in just a matter of years, bilyonaryo ka na. And they will tell us that they did this by hardwork. Susme!

        They have been ROBBING US eversince. They are like OUR CORRUPT POLITICANS in the BUSINESS SECTORS. Directly ROBBING the FILIPINO PEOPLE to live a DECENT life.