LOCAL PRICE COUNCILS STRENGTHENED
Updated: Aug 9, 2020
To give consumers breathing space from monetary woes amidst the abnormal circumstances during the pandemic, Agriculture Secretary William Dar and fellow cabinet members signed on August 6, 2020 a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) strengthening the role of local price coordinating councils (LPCCs).
The JMC, signed by Secretaries Ramon Lopez (Trade), Eduardo Año (Local Government), Roy Cimatu (Environment and Natural Resources), and Francisco Duque (Health), seeks to protect consumers of possible price hikes caused by the re-installation of a modified enhanced community quarantine this month.
It will help manage unreasonable and excessive price increase of basic necessities and prime commodities such as farm and fishery inputs and products, drugs, and wood and forest products.
The joint memo is in line with the government’s Consumer Act and Price Act, both legislated to protect the rights and welfare of the buying public. It also reinforces President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated warning against those taking advantage of the pandemic.
“With this JMC, we are strengthening, even more, the power of the local price coordinating councils tasked to monitor the supply and prices of basic food items, as well as enforce the suggested retail price (SRP) and ‘price freeze’ policies in their respective localities,” Dar said.
The LPCCs will also recommend to the National Price Coordinating Council price ceilings for certain commodities in their localities. In addition, they will conduct an in-depth analysis of causes for price fluctuations and recommend measures that will rectify unwarranted price increases and shortages in supply.
“I appreciate the DA, DTI, DOH, and DENR for joining forces with the DILG in this joint memorandum circular to safeguard the Philippine economy and the Filipino citizenry from the pitfalls of market exploitation and price increases,” Secretary Año said.
He said the DILG will have teams to conduct surprise inspections and ensure that local government units (LGUs) are enforcing price controls.
Under the JMC, LGUs are encouraged to conduct regular inspections of public and private markets and deputize barangay officials to monitor abnormal price increases. In addition, they will provide stalls and kiosks for DA’s KADIWA and DTI’s Diskwento Caravan, both marketing programs aimed at providing the buying public quality and safe food items at reasonable prices.