Quezon City, Metro mayors address overpricing of commodities

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The Quezon City government’s Market Development and Administration Department (MDAD) has issued a notice of violation to 111 market vendors for overpricing from January 1 to 23, as part of its crackdown against excessive pricing of goods amid the rising cost of basic commodities.

According to MDAD head for operations Procopio Lipana, these cases will be endorsed to the Department of Agriculture (DA) for proper investigation as the city has no jurisdiction over the traders where the market vendors get their goods.

“The usual reasoning of vendors is they get their inventory at high prices from traders. But we need to cooperate with the DA to go after wholesalers (charging high prices), especially those the operate in Quezon City,” explained Lipana in Filipino.

The MDAD will also forward the receipts of transactions between the market vendors and these traders to the DA as additional evidence, if needed.

He added that the DA may also use the reports submitted by MDAD in analyzing and formulating an acceptable suggested retail price (SRP) for all stakeholders.

As ordered by Mayor Joy Belmonte, the MDAD is conducting daily monitoring of prices in markets all over the city to ensure that vendors are not charging beyond the suggested retail price (SRP) issued by the government.

Aside from the usual monitoring of prices, Lipana said MDAD also checks and confiscates unsealed or uncalibrated weighing scales.

Furthermore, the DA and Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Metro Manila chief executives, and MM Development Authority (MMDA) officials forged an agreement to impose stricter measures to ease the rising prices of basic food commodities, particularly pork and vegetables sold in public markets in the metropolis.

STRATEGIES NEEDED

“We agreed on several strategies to bring down the prices of basic food items sold in Metro Manila public markets,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar during a virtual meeting with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos, and several Metro Manila mayors held on January 21, 2021.

“First, we will strengthen the local price coordinating councils (LPCCs) for them to clamp down on wholesalers, traders, and retailers, who unreasonably jack up prices and take advantage of the current tight supply situation in pork and vegetables,” added the DA chief.

“Second, from hereon we will require them to register so we will know who they are, and thereafter monitor them regularly,” he added.

These twin measures will be done under the leadership of the respective mayors and market supervisors, in coordination with the DA and DTI, Dar said.

For his part, Lopez said: “We at the DTI are also here to give support on the tasks given us, such as in price monitoring. We hope that we can come up with a clear price list and corresponding price control, for the guidance and compliance of traders and retailers. Further, it is an important thing to have a list of participants in the value chain.”

On the other hand, Abalos, addressing the Metro Manila Mayors, said: “We are here to listen to secretaries Dar and Lopez to find ways to help the government.”

“We at the MMDA and the Metro Manila Mayors will help in elevating the price monitoring, enforcement, and adjudication process,” the MMDA chief said.

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