Año urges local execs, police to work vs. profiteers

MANILA – Secretary Eduardo M. Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has called on local government officials to reactivate their respective Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCC) in the wake of unabated price hikes of prime commodities.

Año also urged local officials to work with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in monitoring runaway profiteers to ensure consumer rights are protected.

“Kailangan nang kumilos ang mga LGUs at PNP tungkol sa hindi makatuwirang pagtaas ng bilihin sa mga pamilihan (its high time for the LGUs and the PNP to act against unfair price hike in the market),” Año said.

Composing LPCCs at the provincial, city, and municipal level are concerned local chief executives, representatives from consumers, agricultural producers, manufacturing and retail sectors, as well as LGU functionaries, among others.

In a statement released Friday, Año said LPCCs should conduct regular inspection of public and private markets, address reported advances made by local traders, and deputize barangay officials and non-government organizations (NGOs) to monitor abnormal price increases.

He directed LPCCs to conduct an in-depth analysis on the causes of price adjustments, suggest action steps to correct unwarranted price increases and supply shortages, and recommend suggested retail prices to government agencies.

Año added that the PNP should closely coordinate with concerned agencies of the government and LGUs and be more proactive in enforcing Republic Act (RA) 10623, which amended the Price Act, RA 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act, and other related laws.

RA 10623 provides protection to consumers by stabilizing the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities and by prescribing measures against undue price increases during emergency situations and like occasions.

On the other hand, RA 10667 prohibits Anti-Competitive Agreements between or among competitors such as restricting competition as to price, or its components, or other terms of trade; and fixing price at an auction or in any form of bidding including cover bidding, bid suppression, bid rotation and market allocation and other analogous practices of bid manipulation.

“The bottom line is we should protect the interest of the consumers. Huwag naman sanang pahirapan pa ng mga ganid na negosyante ang ating mga kababayan sa pamamagitan ng hindi makatarungang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin (It is hoped that the greedy businessmen would not torment our people by imposing unfair price increase on prime commodities),” he said.

Año also called on concerned local chief executives, the DILG Regional Directors, and field offices to continue to report incidents of hoarding and unreasonable price manipulations of essential commodities in certain localities.

“Our LGUs, barangays and the DILG regional and field offices should make active coordination with agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to thwart unnecessary price adjustments and hoarding of primary goods like rice,” he said. Benjamin Pulta/PNA-northboundasia.com