House of Representatives

House probe into anticompetitive onion prices sought

Dwight de Leon
House probe into anticompetitive onion prices sought

COMMODITY. In partnership with the church, several farmers' welfare advocacy groups and community pantry groups unload and pack 1.7 tons of white onions at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Church in Quezon City to help sell the farmers' produce from Pangasinan, on January 10, 2023.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

House budget panel vice chair Stella Quimbo says Congress should check how the government agency tasked to ensure the competitive prices of onions in the market is doing its job

MANILA, Philippines – A ranking member of the House of Representatives filed a resolution asking the committees on economic affairs and trade and industry to look into the alleged anticompetitive practices and cartel in the Philippines’ onion industry.

“Congress has to exercise functions on the Philippine Competition Commission, which is expected to effectively perform its mandate to investigate and prosecute anticompetitive practices in the market for onions, considering the continuous rice in the price of onions,” read the resolution filed by Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo, who sits as vice chairperson of the appropriations panel.

The lawmaker also cited multiple reports of the discovery of smuggled onions since December.

Quimbo pointed out that the Bureau of Customs has seized not less than P23.5 billion in contraband including various agricultural products in 2022.

Based on the Department of Agriculture’s price monitoring data, local red onions are sold in the markets for P480 to P600 per kilo; white onions are priced at around P450 to 600.

Such prices are 607% more costly than the international average which is $1.54 per kilo or around P84.87, based on the Global Product Prices database.

The DA, headed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., already approved the importation of 21,060 metric tons of onions to address the crisis. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers the House of Representatives and the Commission on Elections for Rappler. Previously, he wrote stories on local government units.