Find out why Malacanang can’t lower fish tariffs so soon
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte was supportive of a proposal to impose zero tariff on fish imports but this would have to go through several hurdles.
Roque said Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol clarified that imported fish products “cannot be delivered immediately” to the markets as provided in the law.
“It has to be delivered at an intermediate point, which has to be amended, before we can actually effect importation of fish products,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
Roque said the inflation issue was not formally discussed during Monday’s Cabinet meeting but “the President has previously expressed alarm also over (the) rising inflation”.
He said some of the recommendations to address the rising inflation were given by former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Among the measures proposed by Arroyo to Duterte’s economic managers the National Food Authority’s purchase of 500,000 metric tons of well-milled rice and for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to increase an additional 25 basis point its key rates.
Roque said the suggestion of Piñol to issue suggested retail price (SRP) for fish products has also been discussed as possible measure to counter the rising inflation.
Roque said all aspects and further alleviation measures are being considered to address inflation.
Since increase in price of rice was another contributor to overall inflation, Roque said Duterte has renewed his stern warning against rice hoarders and cartels.
“And that’s why the President has made it very clear, he will use the full power of the state to break open if need be the warehouses of rice hoarders,” Roque said.
According to the Philippines Statistics Authority, the inflation hit a five-year high at 5.7 percent due to the rise in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
PSA reported that the general retail price index (GRPI) of food in the National Capital Region (NCR) inched up by 0.8 percent in June from the previous month.
This bucked the downward trend in the previous three months when retail prices of food generally dipped -0.2 percent, -0.6 percent, and -0.3 percent in March, April, and May, , respectively, the PSA data showed.
“This was due to higher prices of eggs, pork, chicken, milk, cheese, fish, rice, corn, vegetables, sugar, powdered tonic drinks, and fish
sauce,” the PSA said.
The GRPI is a statistical measure of changes in prices, at which retailers dispose their goods to consumers relative to a base year, the PSA explained.(PNA)