YOYR CDO City Price Coordinating Council conducted a surprise inspection of grocery outlets in Barangay Carmen on Jan. 23. The inspection was intended to check the outlets’ compliance with the frozen prices ordered by the DTI in view of the declaration of a state of calamity in the city in December last year.
The freeze set specific ceilings of the prices of basic goods, e.g., milk, canned fish, milk, laundry soap, instant noodles, coffee, etc., that are usually purchased by consumers. It will be for a period of 60 days or until Feb. 20, unless earlier lifted.
Several items in the inspected outlets showed prices over the frozen ceilings. The outlets were required to adjust their prices to conform to the frozen levels. Once this is done, the case will be considered closed or after all, the unmatched frozen and selling prices could just be an error.
However, those who would fail to rectify the error will be formally charged by the DTI and could face penalties of up to one million pesos, depending on the capitalization of the grocery outlet.
The price monitoring done by the DTI and the CPCC should be taken positively both by the consumers and the business community. Through this, we can send at least two messages to the public.
One is that it assures the consumers that government is doing its job of protecting the rights of consumers who should not be made to pay more than the frozen levels, especially at this time when some of our fellow consumers are still reeling from the effects of typhoon Vinta.
Secondly, the business community ought to welcome surprise inspections and the conduct of price monitoring because it will project them to the public as law abiding and compliant with regulations. This in effect assures the consumers that the business establishment they are patronizing are indeed compliant with law.
That being so, the CDO-CPCC should be considered as a partner of both the consumers and the business community.
The CDO Price Coordinating Council was reorganized by Mayor Oscar S. Moreno on Jan. 12, 2018 through Executive Order No. 008-2018. He sits as its chairman and I sit as the co-chairman. DTI Provincial Director Ma. Eliza Pabillore sits as the council’s vice chairman, with the DTI providing secretariat services.
Among its members are the Oro Chamber president, the CDO Press Club president, XU Social Development Officer Nestor Banuag, Jose Astrid Bana of the Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, City Police Director Robert Roy Bahian.
Dr. Hector San Juan of the City Productivity Office, Mr. Tem Chavez of the CEED, the City Legal Officer represented by Ton Resma, Ms. Carolina Serenas of the XU Economics Society, Councilor George Sio Goking as chair of the City Committee on Trade and Industry.
Mr. Willy Limbonhai of the CDO Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ms. Adelfa Sia of the Misamis Oriental Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry also sit as members.
(Egay Uy is a lawyer based in Cagayan de Oro. He is with the Cagayan de Oro City Price Coordinating Council.)