THE ROLE of local price coordinating councils (LPCCs) has been strengthened after the Department of Agriculture (DA) partnered with other government agencies in efforts to shield consumers from possible price hikes due to the return of Metro Manila and nearby provinces to stricter lockdown protocols.
A joint memorandum circular was signed on Thursday by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, and Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III that aims to help manage unreasonable and excessive price increases of basic necessities such as farm and fishery inputs and products, medicine, wood, and forest products.
As part of the agreement, local government units (LGUs) are urged to perform regular inspections of public and private markets and to direct barangay officials to watch abnormal price increases.
LGUs are instructed to provide stalls and kiosks for the marketing programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that seek to provide consumers with safe and quality food products at reasonable prices.
“With this joint memorandum circular, 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,” DA’s Mr. Dar said.
Under the circular, LPCCs will send recommendations to the National Price Coordinating Council regarding price ceilings for certain commodities in their respective localities.
LPCCs will also conduct analysis on the reasons behind price fluctuations and recommend measures that will fix price increases and supply shortages.
For his part, DILG’s Mr. Año said they will create teams that will conduct surprise inspections and ensure local government units will enforce price controls.
The DA said the joint memorandum circular is in accordance with Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act and Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, both created to protect the welfare and rights of the buying public. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave