A business group in Negros Occidental is asking local government units in the province to activate their price monitoring council to closely monitor the price and supply situation of basic necessities and prime commodities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said yesterday that based on their monitoring of the public markets in the city since the quarantine period started in March, the prices of fish and rice are starting to increase.
For example, the P40 per kilo of rice climbed to P42 to 46 per kilo, while a kilo of galunggong increased to P160 from P140, he said.
The business group is calling on the departments of Agriculture, and of Trade and Industry, and the LGUs to activate the Price Monitoring Council (PMC) and establish a Suggested Retail Price for food and other essentials.
Carbon said the PMC could suggest the SRPs to protect the purchasing power of low-income households.
“The purchasing power of the low-income class is fast declining. The government has to intervene quickly as we have to protect the most vulnerable,” he said.
He added, “Prolonged decline of purchasing power is very harmful to the economy and makes it doubly hard to rebound.”
In March, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson ordered the reorganization of the Provincial Local Price Coordinating Council and to conduct an in-depth analysis of the causes of price fluctuations, recommend courses of action that will correct unwarranted price increases and supply shortages, as well as monitor prices and supplies of basic and prime commodities.
The DTI has continued to monitor the prices of basic goods and prime commodities based on the SRPs, as the 60-day nationwide price freeze was lifted on May 15.*
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