“So far, compliant.”
Thus, the statement of Mayor John Dalipe, referring to some market stalls selling rice at P41 to P45 per kilo for regular milled and well-milled, respectively, in compliance with Executive Order No. 39, imposing the mandated price ceilings on rice nationwide.
Mayor Dalipe, chairperson of the Local Price Coordinating Council, personally spearheaded an inter-agency inspection of the city’s main public market downtown and Sta. Cruz Market early Wednesday morning, Sept. 6, relative to the implementation of EO 39, which took effect on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
During his walk through the biggest public markets, Dalipe himself found a couple of stalls compliant with the price caps on rice covered by EO 39, but most of the stalls were selling premium and special rice not covered by EO 39, therefore were sold at higher prices ranging from P55 to P60 per kilogram.
One stall was profiled non-compliant as the rice on display fell under EO 39 classification but was sold at prices higher than the mandated ceilings.
The mayor also had brief interactions with some rice retailers, who willingly shared their sentiments on the rice price caps, which, according to them, will cost them some losses.
The rice retailers had hoped they were given enough to dispose of the stocks they bought at higher prices prior to the issuance of EO 39.
Left without any choice but follow EO 39, the rice retailers assured the local chief executive that they will comply with the price caps but hopeful for a subsidy from the government.
As of yesterday, some retailers also claimed that they were already receiving locally produced rice from the provinces Cotabato and Sibugay, which they can sell at the mandated price caps.
Representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Agriculture (DA) were profiling the rice retailers as a requirement for evaluation and assessment by their respective central offices.
The profiling will also form as basis for the grant of subsidy or assistance the national government was planning to give to rice retailers who will incur losses due to the mandated rice price caps. Accordingly, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allotted P2 billion for the purpose, but this has not yet been confirmed as of press time.
Joining the mayor in his sorties to the markets yesterday were City Administrator Atty. Wendell Sotto, Acting City Agriculturist Arben Magdugo, DTI and DA representatives, Bureau of Customs, other agencies, the police and the media.
The market inspection came after Mayor Dalipe convened twice the LPCC, primarily to discuss the implementation of EO 39 and a consultative meeting with the rice retailers to listen to their sentiments on the issue.-[Vic Larato]