The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance deputizing punong barangays or their designated barangay officials in coordination with the Local Price Coordination Council (LPCC) or its members to monitor retail prices of pork and pork products, including, but not limited to beef, fish, chicken and poultry products in their barangays, in relation to the prevalence of the African Swine Fever (ASF) that has caused price instability in meat products.
Local legislators stated that all punong barangays in the city, or their designated barangay officials will be deputized to monitor retail prices of pork and pork products, including, but not limited to beef, fish, chicken and poultry products in their respective barangays.
Further, deputized barangay officials shall maintain a close coordination with the LPCC and report to the same the up to date prices of said meat products in their areas of jurisdiction, and subsequently apprehend meat retailers violating the prevailing suggested retail prices as mandated by the concerned councils.
Under the proposed ordinance, barangays found in violation for non-compliance of the provisions set forth by the proposed local legislative measure shall be dealt with administratively and shall be sanctioned pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations.
According to the body, the ASF menace started spreading to the different parts of the country since July 2019 with numerous cases reported in Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga and Quezon City, with the first ASF case in Benguet that was confirmed on February 7, 2020 in the towns of La Trinidad and Tuba, which promoted local governments to impose a temporary lockdown on the entry of live pigs.
The council pointed out that since then, and for almost 2 years now, Benguet Province, including Baguio City, has been significantly affected by the increase in prices not only of pork or pork products anymore, but also, the prices of other meat such as beef, fish, chicken and poultry products.
Executive Order No. 087, series of 2019 reconstituted and reactivated the Baguio City Price Coordinating Council and defined its functions, by virtue of Republic Act (RA) No. 7581 as amended by RA 10623 otherwise known as the Price Act, that provides protection of consumers by prescribing measures against undue price increases during emergency situations.
Among the functions of the LPCC include the conduct of regular inspection of public and private markets, and the deputization of Baguio and Benguet Offices and non-government organizations to monitor abnormal price increases, especially in their areas of jurisdiction.
Initially, the LPCC convened to discuss among the members on what are the appropriate strategies and measures that will be undertaken to ensure that the prices of meat being sold in the different markets around the city will be pursuant to the prevailing retail prices.
Earlier, the local government implemented the implementation of the ban in hog raising in the different parts of the city pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations that might have contributed to the inadequate supply of pork and pork products sold in the various markets citywide that also resulted to the sudden increase in the retail prices of pork and other meat products.
By Dexter A. See