DA conducts orientation on the Price Act among regional field offices

The Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Agribusiness Industry Support Division (AISD) conducted a series of orientation on Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, as amended among Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Divisions of the Regional Offices of the Department. For its fifth leg, the participants from CAR, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA attended the said orientation, which was held on March 27 – 29, 2019 at the BP International Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna.

The heart of the said orientation is the presentation and discussion of the Price Act as amended and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) in relation to agricultural commodities particularly the creation of the Bantay Presyo Technical Committee (BPTC), Central Bantay Presyo Monitoring Team (CBPMT), and the Regional Bantay Presyo Monitoring Teams (RBPMTs).

It is provided under the said law that it is the policy of the State to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at reasonable prices without denying legitimate business and fair return on investment; and to provide effective and sufficient protection to consumers against hoarding, profiteering, and cartels with respect to the supply, distribution, marketing, and pricing of said goods, especially during periods of calamity, emergency, widespread illegal price manipulation, and other similar situations.

According to Mr. Rene Remanes, Supervising Agriculturist in AISD, the law protects our farmers from being shortchanged by abusive traders by creating safeguards in pricing of basic necessities such as rice, corn, root crops, sugar, and fresh vegetables to name a few; and prime commodities like dried pork, dried beef, onions, garlic, etc.

Ms. Gregoria Santos, AISD Chief, presented an overview of the composition, functions, duties, and responsibilities of the BPTC, CBPMT, and RBPMTs.

Essentially, they are tasked to regularly monitor the prices and supply of agricultural commodities at all levels of the supply chain, from farm gate to various public and private markets, stores, supermarkets, and other establishments where the agricultural commodities are being sold and/or stored; also, to prepare complaints and related documentation for violation of the Price Act and its IRR, and file the same with the proper authorities.

It was noted that the DA Region IV-CALABARZON is the first among regional offices to create its own RBPMT chaired by Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa with Ms. Editha M. Salvosa, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division Chief; Mr. Marvin Severino P. Nasino of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources; Dr. Gabriel L. Lagamayo, Officer-In-Charge-Manager of National Dairy Authority-South Luzon; Ms. Theresa D. Magno of National Meat Inspection Service; Mr. Arnulfo L. Jacobe of Sugar Regulatory Administration; Ms. Leticia R. Hernandez of Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority; Mr. Redentor E. Arciaga of National Food Authority; Ms. Jessica Atienza of Philippine Statistics Authority; Ms. Ma. Annie S. Bucu of Rice Program; Engr. Ernie Rabusa of Corn Program; Ms. Maria Ella Cecilla B. Obligado, Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division Chief; and Mr. Pedrito R. Kalaw, Chairperson of Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council, as members. • RFL