Gov. Edgar Chatto has ordered all Bohol mayors to activate their Price Monitoring Councils (PMCs) as the country braces for the tax reform impact, including the anticipated inflation.
Boholanos have already bitten their lips over the high prices of certain commodities, notably of the abnormally expensive fishes even after the successive storms.
The governor asked the mayors and their respective PMCs in Tagbilaran City and 47 towns to take hand in the implementation of price tags and other market regulations.
This is most intentionally to prevent the unscrupulous traders from exploiting the current situation which can result in much higher prices of more commodities.
At his weekly press forum “Kita ug Ang Gobernador,” Chatto noted that weather disturbances and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law are used to justify price hike.
He directed all government monitoring agencies and LGUs to protect the consumers by ensuring the implementation of the price tag law for every commodity.
This can prevent practices that unnecessarily add to prices also because of the layers of middlemen through whom products pass.
The governor would like the local price bodies to strengthen the price regulation even right in the landing areas of products, especially fish, before they reach the markets.
The police power of the LGUs is crucial to assisting such agencies as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), National Food Authority (NFA), and Office of the Provincial Agriculture.
Government agencies tasked by law to monitor prices have to coordinate with the local price monitoring councils.
Thus, the governor directed the LGUs to activate the local price monitoring councils in coordination with the national and provincial agencies
Chatto asked the public to be watchful and help monitor sudden price increases and non-compliance of traders to the suggested retail price or SRP.
He also asked the help of the Bohol Tri-Media Association (BTMA) during the induction of its officers at the Bohol Tropics Friday.
Being the father of the province, the governor exercised wisdom to guide the mayors by reminding them of their powers that provide them ample authorities.
There is the Price Act, but according to the DTI it governs the regulation by SRP and the law itself has no price control power, only price monitoring mechanism.
But Chatto said price tags must be implemented by the local market administrators to guide the consumers and avoid price manipulation.
Also during the governor’s regular press conversation on Friday, Jo Hibaya of the DTI said his agency will impose penalties on the violators.
THE FIRST PLACE
The mayors must not get mad if the governor dictates them to activate their price monitoring bodies because they are mandated to do it in the first place.
Businessmen and traders get their permits from the offices of the mayors, not of the governor.
This also helps explain why the city and municipal LGUs have wide taxing scopes unlike the provincial government.
The mayors can call the traders and businessmen for discussion when abnormal movements of market forces happen.
Chatto said the price councils led by the mayors can intervene and create mechanisms.
The mayors can use their power to issue business permits during this licensing season of the year to ensure compliance with the regulated practices.
“We must exercise justness to the consumers when tendencies abuse them or exploit their vulnerability,” Chatto said.
The governor’s directive to activate the price monitoring bodies guides the LGUs about executing their authority to the fullest for the greater good of the greater number.
Trade and commerce can benefit both the business sector and the consuming public to the optimum, Chatto said.
Having a price law that still cannot control prices is blamed on the country’s adoption of the principle of free trade.
Free market enterprise lets the goods and services priced according to supply and demand.
But the market forces are expected to behave in their normal operation where government must see to it that there are no distortions triggering abnormal prices.
These distortions include monopolizing and hoarding that disturb market forces and result in already extortionate jack-up or increase in prices.
Chatto emphasized the price tag compliance in both the wet and dry markets.
He reiterated that the LGUs should take direct hand in the operation of their markets in the implementation of price tags.
The police power is in the hand of the local chief executives and they must act, the governor said.
Chatto said the public will know which LGUs towns are not heeding to the directive to make their price monitoring councils move, act. (Ven rebo Arigo)