THREE government agencies have joined hands to closely monitor prices and supply of sugar and flour, as well as other basic commodities in the market.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Zamboanga Peninsula Director Nazrullah Manzur said the monitoring it conducted, together with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Food Authority (NFA), aims to prevent unscrupulous businessmen from increasing the prices following the reported shortage of sugar and flour in some parts of the country.

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The prevailing prices of refined and white sugar at the national level went up by P4 and P6, respectively, compared last month due to the shortage of supply.

But the trade department said the price of rice and other basic and prime commodities remained constant or has actually gone down after the holiday season.

The upward adjustments in the price of sugar are due to the heightened demand this year, as can be gleaned from the increased rate of withdrawals from the mills.

Manzur said the price of flour and other basic commodities in Zamboanga Peninsula are actually slightly lower than the national suggested retail price.

This, according to Manzur, was based on the data the DTI gathered in the recent monitoring conducted in Zamboanga Peninsula. (Bong Garcia)