DILG to LGUs: Ensure imposition of rice price cap

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called on the local government units (LGUs) to provide full support to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in implementing the rice price ceiling as mandated under Executive Order (EO) No. 39.

On Sept. 1, President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. issued EO No. 39 which mandates the price ceiling on rice upon the recommendation of the DA and DTI, and for DILG to provide necessary support in ensuring its strict implementation.

The price ceiling on rice was eventually imposed starting Sept. 5.

In the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the DILG vowed to ensure that the order is being followed.

DILG-CAR Director Araceli San Jose explained that the DA and DTI had recommended the imposition of mandated price ceilings on rice in the Philippines following reports on the widespread practice of alleged illegal price manipulation.

"We are urging all LGUs in the Cordillera to assist the DTI and DA in ensuring strict implementation of the mandated price ceilings on rice in the market, including monitoring and investigation of abnormal price movements to protect the rights, interests, and general welfare of consumers," San Jose said in a statement.

San Jose stated that the LGUs are tasked to establish Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCC), whose powers and functions are to regulate the price of goods, especially those considered basic necessities and prime commodities.

"All LPCCs are urged to be in charge of coordination and rationalize programs, together with other agencies of the government, in the respective provinces, cities, and municipalities to stabilize the price and supply of rice in their areas," she added.

The DILG-CAR chief noted that the LPCC should also conduct an in-depth analysis on the causes of price fluctuations in their respective territorial jurisdictions and prescribe measures to prevent excessive price increases.

San Jose also reminded the local chief executives (LCEs) to conduct regular inspections of public and private markets, as well as rice warehouses in their jurisdiction, if there are any, to address hoarding and exorbitant, excessive, and unreasonable price increase of rice.

"We also urge our LCEs to activate hotlines, Consumer Complaints Desk, and 'Timbangan ng Bayan', as well as to designate barangay officials and NGOs to monitor abnormal price increases and to actively coordinate with the DTI, DA, and other government agencies to prevent unwarranted price increases and hoarding of rice and other prime commodities," San Jose stressed.

San Jose called on the LGUs to extend assistance to the DA in their exercise of their regulatory and visitorial powers, in the inspection of cold storage warehouses (CSWs) and in the execution of search warrants issued against them that are determined to have violated the provisions of Republic Act No. 10845 or “Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016”, Republic Act No. 7581 or "Price Act," and other related laws.

"The Philippine National Police (PNP) should extend all necessary assistance to the LGUs in the implementation of the price ceiling on rice," she said.

Under EO No. 39, the DILG-CAR bared that the mandated cap for regular milled rice is P41 per kilogram while the price ceiling for well-milled rice is P45 per kilogram with the price caps not covering special and premium rice.