MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) stated on Tuesday that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. authorized the importation of 21,060 metric tons (MT) of onions.
During a public briefing, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez announced that importation applications began on Monday and will end on January 13. He expects the supply to arrive by the end of January or the first week of February.
Since the local onion harvest is said to reach its height from mid-February to May, Estoperez stated that the importation shouldn’t go beyond the time period.
Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel condemned the proposal to import onions, citing the harmful impact on local farmers’ income.
“We will bite into the trap and if we now agree with the importation of onions, we will now be affecting the local farmers,”SENATOR MINORITY LEADED KOKO PIMENTEL
He also remarked on the DA’s seemingly lengthy decision-making process, which is led by President Marcos as a secretary and might have been done during the off-season.
“If we authorize importation now, the actual importation will happen maybe weeks or months later. That will coincide with the availability of locally produced onions,” Pimentel said.
“It looks like we allowed the hoarders, the illegal importers, and the price fixers to profit from the peak season of Christmas.
According to the department’s most recent price monitoring, the average price of a kilogram of red onion in Metro Manila markets has now ranged from 480 to 600 pesos.