DAVAO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here has already monitored a total of 1,624 rice retailers throughout the region, as of 14 September 2023.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Of the said figure, the most number of rice retailers visited were from Davao City at 470, followed by Davao Oriental at 385, Davao Occidental at 349, Davao de Oro at 172, Davao del Norte at 165, and Davao del Sur at 83.
During the monitoring and profiling of these retailers, it was found that the selling price of well-milled rice (WMR) ranges from P42.00 to P64.00 per kilogram, while the regular-milled rice (RMR) was priced between P38.00 and P59.00 per kilogram.
The monitoring activities were part of the agency’s responsibilities as mandated by President Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos, Jr. through the issuance of Executive Order No. 39, which mandated the price ceilings on rice.
It can be recalled that the President issued the said E.O. on August 31, while the imposition of mandated price ceilings on rice became effective on September 5.
Section 3.a of the latest directive from PBBM states that “DTI and DA (Department of Agriculture) shall ensure the strict implementation of the mandated price ceilings in the market, including monitoring and investigation.” As such, the Special Interagency Task Force on Price and Supply Monitoring and Enforcement (SITF-PSME) was mobilized in Davao region. The team was created through Regional Development Council (RDC) Resolution No. 12, series of 2023, which was passed on March 24 this year.
The SITF-PSME is composed of the DA, DTI, Department of Healtth (DOH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Energry (DOE), Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Public Safety Security Command Center (PSSCC), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and Philippine Information Agency (PIA). These government offices are tasked to stabilize the supply of basic necessities and prime commodities while ensuring that they are sold at reasonable prices through joint monitoring and enforcement of Fair-Trade Laws (FTLs).
With the multi-agency composition of the RDC-created group, it was emphasized in the memorandum of agreement (MOA) that the lead agency is any member that has jurisdiction over the subject commodity. Hence, the lead agency will be on top of the joint monitoring and enforcement activities.
To complement the SITF-PSME, the Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCCs) in cities and municipalities were activated as well.
On September 5, DA 11 led the monitoring of three rice warehouses in Davao City. It was found that the buying price of WMR at the time was pegged at P2,450 per 50-kilogram sack or P49.00 per kilogram. Meanwhile, the selling price was at P50.00 per kilogram.
On September 13, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) initiated the payment of cash subsidy to qualified rice micro-retailers, with the assistance of DTI 11.
A total of P2,730,000.00 was released to 182 beneficiaries, who received P15,000.00 each.
DTI 11 Regional Director Maria Belenda Ambi assured the public that the agency is visiting as many rice retailers as it can to make sure that they follow the mandated price ceiling of P45.00 per kilogram for WMR and P41.00 per kilogram for RMR.
“We have been coordinating with DA closely since rice is under its jurisdiction. Nonetheless, we at DTI have been doing our best to carry our role based on E.O. No. 39,” she said.
The regional trade chief reiterated that violation of Republic Act No. 7581, or the Price Act, will be dealt with accordingly, based on the provisions of the law.
Meanwhile, Ambi encouraged the public to report to DTI any violation of the E.O. No. 39 or FTLs, or any unscrupulous practice of business establishments. END