The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has traced businessmen believed to be responsible for manipulating high prices of spices, particularly garlic.
Several Filipino-Chinese traders based in Manila’s Binondo and Divisoria areas were invited to NBI national headquarters in Manila on Friday over their possible role in the price spikes.
The businessmen’s names were not disclosed.
The NBI discovered that sources of supply of the 14 major markets in Metro Manila were only Binondo and Divisoria.
Wholesalers from Binondo and Divisoria buy garlic from provincial suppliers for P40 to P60 per kilo and then sell the product 900-percent higher.
The NBI said prevailing prices of garlic are: Pritil in Tondo, Manila, P260 per kilo; Trabajo market in Sampaloc, Manila, P300; La Huerta, Paranaque City, P300; Alabang, Muntinlupa City, P280; Baclaran, Pasay City, P350; Marikina City, P280; San Juan City, P280 for locally-produced and P300 for imported; and Balintawak, Quezon City, P300.
The NBI has also invited officials of cooperatives who were holding 52 garlic importation permits issued by the Bureau of Plant and Industry.
Each winning bidder is only allowed to import 5,000 tons of garlic.