PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday signed an executive order (EO) imposing price caps on selected pork and poultry products sold in the National Capital Region (NCR) for 60 days.

Under EO No. 124, the price ceiling for pork (kasim/pigue) was set at P270 per kilo and for pork liempo at P300 per kilo. It also set a price cap of P160 for a kilo of dressed chicken.

The Agriculture department had recommended the imposition of price caps on selected pork and chicken products in Metro Manila, as prices soared due to a supply shortage caused by the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).

“The current retail prices of basic necessities in the NCR such as pork and chicken have increased significantly, causing undue burden to Filipinos, especially the underprivileged and marginalized,” the EO stated.

“It is imperative and urgent to ensure that basic necessities are adequate, affordable and accessible to all.”

The order will be in effect for 60 days after it is published in the Official Gazette or a newspaper.

Headline inflation likely quickened to 3.6% in January due to soaring food prices, a BusinessWorld poll of economists showed.

Pork prices have jumped in recent months because of a large-scale cull of hogs in Luzon, forcing markets in Metro Manila to import meat from other islands, in the process incurring higher transportation costs.

However, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar last month said price manipulation by traders and wholesalers is behind the high retail prices of pork and chicken.  Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza