AMID the rising inflation rate in the country, Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. issued an executive order to reorganize the Provincial Local Price Coordinating Council (PLPCC).
Marañon said under Republic Act (RA) 7581, otherwise known as the Price Act, the state shall provide effective and sufficient protection to consumers against hoarding, profiteering, and cartels with the respect to the supply distribution, marketing and pricing of said goods especially during periods of calamity, emergency, widespread illegal price manipulation and other similar situations.
Marañon said there is a need to amend Provincial Executive Order No. 10-020, Series of 2002, to make the PLPCC adjust to the changes in representations from other agencies and sectoral groups, and further to address the concerns relating to price stability and supply of basic necessities and commodities.
The PLPCC is asking the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to submit its report on prices of commodities and agricultural products after their reconvening on Monday, October 8.
Marlin Sanogal, provincial planning and development officer, convened the PLPCC in behalf of the governor.
During the meeting, it was agreed that the council's membership has to be expanded to include representatives from the National Food Authority (NFA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Office of the Provincial Veterinarian, and the Bacolod-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCCI).
The DTI also reported they are conducting regular monitoring of prices in key cities such as San Carlos, La Carlota, Kabankalan, and Bacolod City.
As an initial step, the PLPCC has requested the DTI and DA to furnish their reports and findings to the council in order to assess what needs to be given attention.
The council will also invite other consumer groups and stakeholders to attend its meetings set every first month of every quarter.
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson also asked the DTI to closely monitor if indeed there is a possible profiteering in Negros Occidental.
"As of now, what we can do is to watch and monitor the prices and ask DTI if these are still within the price range or if profiteering is happening in Negros," Lacson pointed out.
He said that possible price cut or price ceiling is within the authority of the national government and price monitoring is the only help that the local government units (LGUs) can do.
"Inflation is caused by the high price of fuels and today there will be another big increase in the price of fuels and definitely this will again contribute to the rise of inflation. Many things are beyond our control so we are just hoping that business people are not profiteering and take advantage of the situation," said Lacson.
He said that once there is monitoring of prices, it could be determined if prices are still at reasonable rates or not.
Lacson is also backing the proposal of the business sector of having a people's market where people could buy commodities and agricultural products at a lower price