DA’s onion SRP flip-flop slammed

Jayson Cainglet, the group’s executive director, lambasted Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban for taking back the SRP, describing the withdrawal as ‘pathetic’

PHOTOGRAPH BY DIANNE BACELONIA FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE | No price ceiling Red onions sell at P45 per quarter of a kilo in a Pasay City market on Thursday, 25 May, a day after the Department of Agriculture decided to defer setting a suggested retail price for the commodity. Onion prices skyrocketed to as much as P720 per kilo in December last year.

The Department of Agriculture was roundly criticized Thursday for deferring the implementation of a suggested retail price, or SRP, for onions, after it cited compliance concerns.

The SRP, which was set at P150 per kilo for red onions and P140 per kilo for white onions, was supposed to take effect yesterday. However, the DA said on Wednesday it will first coordinate with other government agencies before implementing the SRP.

The group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura scored the department headed concurrently by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for taking back the SRP.

SINAG president Rosendo So encouraged consumers not to patronize retailers selling onions beyond the P150 per kilo SRP.

Jayson Cainglet, the group’s executive director, lambasted Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban for taking back the SRP, describing the withdrawal as “pathetic.”

“We find it strange and unfortunate for the DA to postpone the SRP. Unless the real objective of those who refused to sign the SRP is to keep retail prices of onions high,” Cainglet said.

The DA said it is considering the cost structure regarding the SRP, as it will also impact on onion growers or farmers. It is also coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure compliance with the SRP, it added.

Filipinos consume about 17,000 tons of onions monthly. The high prices have made onions unaffordable for many Filipinos.

High prices of onions had been blamed on crop-ravaging super tycoons, soaring global inflation, inaccurate crop projections, price manipulation and hoarding.


The DA had previously imposed SRPs on onions, but these were disregarded by retailers. In December 2022, the DA implemented a P250 per kilo SRP, but the price of onions skyrocketed to P720 per kilo amid the shortage in supply.

In February this year, the department also imposed a P125 SRP on imported onions, but it failed to get compliance from traders and retailers.

“The SRP did not work out, we don’t want to repeat this and there are some things that we have to address first particularly the supply,” DA spokesperson Rex Estoperez said.

“Then we’ll encourage the farmers to lower the farm gate prices. It appears that didn’t happen and they didn’t do so. Nobody followed our SRP. We have lessons learned there, including our setting up of the SRP,” he explained.

For an onion grower like Jimmy Vistar, the DA will have to fix an acceptable SRP as he said the price from their last harvest this year has already reached P112 per kilo.

The alleged smuggling and hoarding of onions had been blamed for the high prices of onions in the Philippines.

With the Bureau of Customs seizing smuggled onions valued at over a hundred million pesos a couple of months back, government officials had mulled releasing them to local markets.

The onions were hidden in containers labeled as clothing, plastic buckets, dish plates, and cat litter. In one shipment, the onions were labeled as udon noodles and frozen fish.

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