More rice supplies sourced at a lower price are expected to arrive here to enable retailers to comply with the price ceiling under Executive Order (E0) 39 issued by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said on Monday.
“My understanding is local supply is gradually coming in, which is driving the price down. These are local supplies that will soon arrive,” he said in a press briefing.
With palay harvest between September and October, Bacolod would source rice supply from the neighboring Bago City and Murcia town in Negros Occidental and also from Iloilo Province, Benitez said.
EO 39, which took effect on Sept. 5, mandates the price cap for regular milled rice at PHP41 per kilo and for well-milled rice at PHP45 per kilo.
Benitez said for retailers in public markets to sell at PHP45 per kilo starting last week, the city government contacted dealers that can supply sellers with inexpensive rice.
“It was an initiative of the city to coordinate with rice dealers to make sure we can give (the public) at the price ceiling stipulated in the EO. We were able to find rice stocks enough to be sold within the price ceiling,” the mayor said.
“The city facilitated looking for suppliers. They (the retailers) paid the suppliers directly. We requested the vendors not to mark up too much. We will try to look for as much cheap but quality rice,” he added.
Benitez said they will also work out next, sourcing rice supply for sale at PHP41 per kilo.
“That’s what we discussed earlier today,” he said.
City Administrator Pacifico Maghari III said based on their monitoring, the rice available at PHP45 per kilo in the city’s three major public markets last week was almost sold out.
“We have received reports that there are some retailers selling rice at a lower price as an effect. Since the stocks were almost sold out, there are re-orders,” he said.
EO 39, which aims to protect consumers against hoarders, rice cartels, and illegal price manipulators, mandates a coordinated effort among various agencies to ensure the strict implementation of the mandated price ceilings.
It also seeks to intensify the fight against hoarding and illegal importation of rice and take measures against cartels to ensure fair market competition and uphold consumer welfare and protection.
Violators can be penalized as provided in Sections 15 and 16 under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act.
Penalties include imprisonment of up to 10 years and substantial fines ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP1 million. (PNA)