Monitoring committee created to check rice prices in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 Sep) – The City Government of Davao has created a body tasked to monitor the movement of price of rice in the city amid reports of uncontrolled and unmonitored price increases of the staple food.

City Mayor Sara Duterte signed Executive Order 23 creating the Rice Supply and Price Monitoring Committee last September 13. A copy of the document was released to the media only on Tuesday.

The city saw the need to establish a price monitoring body to protect the city from the negative effects of possible market issues stemming from reported rice shortages in various parts of the country and to properly regulate and ensure that price of rice from local retailers would be just, reasonable, and affordable.

Under Section 2, the committee’s functions include conducting study, analysis and evaluation on the causes of price fluctuations of rice; recommending measures to address unwarranted rice price increase and supply shortages; and regularly monitoring and inspect public and private market, stores, and rice warehouses.

It also provides that barangay officials and non-government organizations will be deputized to monitor abnormal rice price increases and actively coordinate with other appropriate government agencies to prevent unwarranted increases and hoarding.

The body is chaired by the city mayor or her duly appointed representative, with City Council’s Agriculture and Food Committee chair Councilor Marissa S. Abella and representatives from the Business Bureau, City Economic Enterprise, City Agriculturist Office, Department of Trade and Industry-Davao, and Department of Agriculture-Davao as members.

In a press conference last September 10, National Food Authority 11 director Lester Romeo E. Malana assured the market that there is sufficient rice supply in Davao Region until December 2018 because there are 740,000 bags (or 36,000 metric tons) of rice for markets in Davao Region and some parts of neighboring Soccsksargen.

This is on top of the 328,000 bags of rice stored as buffer stock at the warehouse of NFA here, covering the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, Davao City in Davao Region and Sarangani province and General Santos in Soccsksargen.

He said the NFA 11 completed the unloading of at least half of the 740,000 bags during the first week of September while the remaining half would be delivered this month.

He said the volume of NFA rice injected to the local markets is “above normal” to ensure there is sufficient supply.

Malana urged the consumers not to resort to panic buying to prevent worsening the market situation amid the inflation.

The country’s inflation rate soared to 6.4% in August 2018, surpassing the 5.7% recorded in July, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

In Mindanao, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has an inflation rate of 8.1%; Zamboanga Peninsula, 6.4%; Northern Mindanao, 6.1%; Davao Region, 7.1%; Soccsksargen, 7.9%; and Caraga, 4.8%. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)