Like Piñol, Villar urges Filipinos to plant vegetables to cope with inflation

'Hindi natin ma-stop ang hoarder, hindi natin ma-stop ang cartel, hindi natin ma-stop ang smuggling, we take care of ourselves,' says Senator Cynthia Villar

Ralf Rivas

Published: 11:20:32am September 10, 2018

Updated: 11:20:32am September 10, 2018

GARDENING. Senator Cynthia Villar wants Filipinos to plant vegetables to cope with high prices. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – "Magtanim na tayo sa sarili nating bakuran (Let us plant in our own backyard)."

This was Senator Cynthia Villar's advice to consumers who are feeling the pinch of inflation.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate agriculture committee, said people should not be dependent on suppliers. She conceded that the government cannot completely stop illegal activities. (LOOK: Cooking pinakbet under sizzling inflation)

"Hindi natin ma-stop ang hoarder, hindi natin ma-stop ang cartel, hindi natin ma-stop ang smuggling, we take care of ourselves. Ngayon maski ako nagtatanim ako ng sarili kong vegetables, nag-aalaga ako ng sarili kong livestock, para more or less konti na lang ang bibilhin ko sa market," Villar said on Monday, September 10, during the budget briefing of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

(We cannot stop hoarders, we cannot stop cartels, we cannot stop smuggling, we take care of ourselves. I myself plant my own vegetables, I take care of livestock, so that I would more or less buy fewer items from the market.)

"Instead of doing ornamental plants, we do edible gardening," she added.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol earlier proposed that consumers plant sili or red chili peppers amid high prices.

Price ceilings

Villar also urged the DA to put a price ceiling on onion in areas where prices are unusually high.

"Under price control, you have to declare a state of calamity, while in price ceiling, you don't have to declare a state of calamity," she told Piñol.

Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act allows a government agency to recommend to the president an imposition of a price ceiling when prices are unreasonable.

However, Piñol said the government's economic managers have dismissed that proposal, as it would have little effect.

Economists previously warned that imposing price ceilings may result in a supply shortage, as businessmen may hold on to stocks until the ceiling is lifted.

Inflation in August jumped to 6.4%. Vegetable prices soared 19.5%.

Some regions reported much higher figures, like Cagayan Valley, where vegetable prices were up 35.6%. (IN CHARTS: This is how bad August 2018 inflation looks like in regions) –