Benjamin Abalos

DILG chief lauds Metro mayors support to rice price caps

September 6, 2023 Joel dela Torre 408 views

LOCAL Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Tuesday led the inspection at Mega Q-Mart public market and Save More Supermarket in Quezon City to check the compliance of rice retailers to Executive Order (EO) No. 39 on the first day of its implementation.

Abalos commended the Metro mayors and other local chief executives (LCEs) for their initiatives and support of the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on the implementation of the prescribed ceiling price of rice.

EO 39 issued by Malacañang on August 31 set the mandated price ceilings for regular milled rice at P41 per kilogram and well-milled rice at P45 per kilogram nationwide upon the recommendation of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“On the first day, we encourage the resellers na makiisa muna sila. Sa mga susunod na araw, mas magiging mahigpit tayo. Pero ngayon, aming panawagan, makiisa muna kayo,” Abalos said.

He assured rice retailers that the price ceiling is only temporary and a stopgap measure to ensure that rice as a basic necessity is accessible and reasonably priced for Filipinos.

He was joined by Mayors Joy Belmonte of QC and Francis Zamora of San Juan who both expressed support of the call for compliance.

According to Abalos, no arrests have been made on rice retailers yet as the government is currently going after the cartels that are manipulating the prices of prime commodities like rice.

“Ang target natin dito yung mga (rice) cartel. Sila talaga ang nagpapataas ng presyo ng bigas,” the DILG chief said in an interview.

“Ito’y para sa lahat, para kay Juan Dela Cruz ito. Narerecognize ng Pangulo na may maliliit na retailers ang tatamaan, huwag silang mag-alala. Nakikita niya na dapat tuloy-tuloy ang supply ng bigas, dapat maganda ang presyo, at the same time, nauunawaan niya ang kalagayan ng mga bumili ng mahal at asahan n’yo po, gagalaw ang national government, tutulong po rito,” he added.

On the part of the local execs, Abalos said he was thankful to them for extending full support to the order.

“Sa hanay ng mga alkalde, ako’y nagpapasalamat. Dito n’yo makikita na ang mga local government units, talagang nagsasanib-puwersa lalo na’t higit sa Kalakhang Maynila dahil ito ay affected talaga,” he added.

Meanwhile, Caloocan City Mayor Dale Gonzalo “Along” Malapitan led the inspection of local markets yesterday starting with Poblacion Public Market to guarantee rice businesses’ compliance with the Mandated Price Ceiling (MPC) set by Executive Order No. 39 issued by the President.

Under EO 39, the highest retail price that businesses can sell regular milled rice is at P41 per kilo, while for the well-milled variety, the price cap is at P45 pesos. Other varieties, such as premium and special rice, are not included in the price regulation.

Mayor Along assured his constituents that the city government will regularly check if local businesses abide by the MPC and pledged to provide assistance when needed by both customers and local rice retailers.

“Asahan po ninyo na nakahanda ang pamahalaang lungsod na umalalay at magbigay ng tulong sa mga mamimili at negosyante kung kinakailangan,” Mayor Along said.

The local chief executive likewise issued a warning to persons and other entities who will try to take advantage of the current rice situation in order to exploit Caloocan City consumers. By Joel dela Torre, Jun Legaspi and Edd Reyes