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DA, DTI urged to enforce stricter price monitoring during Holy Week

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has called on the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry to keep an eye on possible price surges during the Holy Week and set suggested retail price on basic commodities.

Rep. Wilber Lee (Agri Partylist) said that while prices of vegetable and fish are expected to go up during the Holy Week, the DA and the DTI should strictly monitor prices to ensure they are within range.

The DA said last week it was expecting a 10 to 20% increase in the retail price of fish during the Holy Week.

The department, however, assured that there was an ample supply of fish even as more buyers are expected to snap up fish for the Holy Week.

"The DA and DTI should watch out for those who might take advantage of this by increasing the prices of their products to an unfair price," Lee said in Filipino. 

“If there is ample supply of fish, then the price increases should not be so significant even though it is the Holy Week,” he added.
Catholics typically practice fasting and abstinence from meat during Holy Week, which leads to a spike in demand for fish.

DA's latest price bulletin as of March 22 showed that milkfish or bangus in Metro Manila were priced at P150 and P220 per kilo, while tilapia ranged from P120 to P160 per kilo.

Meanwhile, local round scad ranged from P180 to P300 per kilo, while imported round scad was priced at P180 to P200 per kilo. Indian mackerel's price ranged from P280 to P350 per kilo.

Lee also called on the DA to replicate its price monitoring on a provincial or regional level as it only releases regular price monitoring updates for Metro Manila.