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Solons seek probe on possible ‘manipulation’ in onion market price

AUTHORITIES seized over 1,000 sacks of illegally imported white onions in Divisoria, Manila on Dec. 2 amid high retail prices of red onions nationwide. — PHILSTAR/MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

A GROUP of opposition lawmakers on Thursday called for an investigation on the “potential overpricing and price manipulation” of onions in the market.  

Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene D. Brosas led the filing of House Resolution 673, which asks the House committee on agriculture and food to conduct a probe on the issue.   

“Despite the low farmgate price of onion, its retail price in markets and stores has continued to increase,” states the resolution that was also signed by  

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France L. Castro and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel.  

“Traders purchase onions from farmers at a low price and sell them at a higher price during times of high demand season,” it said.  

The farmgate price of onions was at P25-27 per kilo in November 2022, according to the resolution, but market prices shot up to as much as P700/kilo in December.   

The Department of Agriculture issued a directive in late December setting a price ceiling on onions at P250/kilo.   

Onion prices still stood at P280-P650 per kilo as of Jan. 5, according to the lawmakers.   

They said the Agriculture department’s order for a suggested retail price was a “short-term measure” that “has so far failed to bring down the overall price onions in the market.”   

The resolution also cited problems on onion smuggling and over-importation.  

“Large traders, importers, and even smugglers profit hugely from onions’ high prices, while consumers shell out more to purchase onions as a result,” the resolution said.  

House ways and means committee chair Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, in a statement on Thursday, said the panel will “focus its investigation and policymaking efforts on agri smuggling” this year. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz 

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