DILG urges LGUs to reactivate local price councils, directs PNP to enforce laws protecting consumer rights

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Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año calls for the reactivation of Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCCs) nationwide to monitor exorbitant price increase of basic commodities and directs the Philippine National Police (PNP) to enforce the laws to protect consumer rights.

Año issued the directive after receiving reports from regional and field offices of an alleged spike in the cost of goods in some local government units (LGUs) following the series of weather disturbances in the country in the past weeks.

“Kailangan nang kumilos ang mga LGUs at PNP tungkol sa hindi makatuwirang pagtaas ng bilihin sa mga pamilihan,” he says.

According to Año, the 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 also urges 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.

At the same time, Año says 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 mandates the provision of 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,”he says.

Año also calls 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 says.

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. –R4A/CO