Senate President Franklin Drilon on Wednesday said the Senate committee on agriculture will investigate the sudden increase on the prices of garlic and other agricultural products.
”We will investigate this in the committee on agriculture. Let’s see why there was sudden increase on the prices of garlic,” Drilon said in radio dzRH interview.
Drilon said the Senate will deeply scrutinize whether sudden spike was due to hoarding, price manipulation or simple effect of the law of supply and demand.
”That, we will investigate. If we find that there was price manipulation, we will prosecute them through the Department of Agriculture,” Drilon said.
On the reports that only 20 percent of garlic supply in the country was produced locally, Drilon said the government should step in by providing more assistance to the garlic farmers.
”Perhaps the solution here is to give our garlic farmers more support like more access to credit to increase the production of local garlic and not rely too much on the imported garlic,” Drilon said.
Drilon said the prices of garlic which reportedly skyrocketed to as much as P320 per kilo should serve as a wakeup call for the government to address the problems not only garlic but other agricultural products like ginger and rice.
Recently, Senators Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture, and Bam Aquino called on the DA to focus and expedite its investigation on the sudden rise of garlic prices.
””We have to ensure the protection of the consuming public. The exorbitant prices being imposed on garlic might also result to an increase in the prices of other food products,” Villar said.
Aquino said the DA must ensure that no group or personalities are manipulating garlic prices.
”Let us not allow the interest of abusive personalities or groups to inflict further burden on our farmers and take away the hard-earned money of consuming public,” Aquino said. PNA