TABUK CITY, Kalinga – On September 11, representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Food Authority (NFA), Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the city government carried out an inspection and monitoring of rice retailers to ensure that the price ceiling for regular-milled rice (RMR) and well-milled rice (WMR) was adhered to.
According to Maria Cecilia Baral, Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist, they have created profiles of the rice shops they have visited in addition to monitoring the RMR and WMR pricing ceilings.
“Apan tayu kinita if they [rice retailers] complied with EO No. 39 (Imposition of Mandated Price Ceiling on Rice), setting the prices of WMR and RMR to PhP 45 and PhP 41 respectively,” she said.
Baral stated that this is their third monitoring activity and that they also carried out two pricing monitoring actions the previous week.
Sadly, only 4 of the 13 establishments inspected were in compliance. She continued by saying that although the Dagupan and Bulanao are the initial surveillance areas, other barangays would eventually be added.
The rice merchants who adhere to the EO claim that they learned about the price change from watching the news or from their clients.
They also claim that they noticed that the sacks they purchased had become more affordable, so they reduced their pricing.
Others said that they couldn’t simply sit back and allow their merchandise to go bad and their customers go shop elsewhere when they saw their competition lowering their prices.
They asserted that individuals who continue to sell their items at the same price cannot simply lower it because they paid a high price for it when they got it and that doing so would result in losses.
Baral made it clear that the price cap only applies to WMR and RMR rice, not to specialty varieties like Jasmin, Double Diamond rice, or similar varieties.
Finally, Baral urged merchants to adhere to the price cap so that they could assist the general public in affording high-quality rice.