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DA suspends price control on agriculture commodities

(The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture has suspended the application of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the amended Price Act of 1992 on agricultural commodities to give way to wider consultations among traders who fear the price control provisions of the law.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Tuesday several trading groups have raised “additional concerns” on the IRR.

“The suspension order will afford stakeholders additional opportunity to raise their concerns on the IRR,” he said.

He said a series of nationwide consultations would be conducted immediately. This would be the second round of consultations to be held since the finalization of the IRR in the last quarter of 2014.

The IRR as applied to agricultural commodities aims to “ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at all times without denying legitimate business a fair return on investment, and at the same time, provide effective and sufficient protection to consumers against hoarding, profiteering and cartels.”

Agriculture assistant secretary for agribusiness and marketing Leandro Gazmin said the consultations would focus on what are considered to be “contentious” areas such as profiteering issues and mechanisms on setting suggested retail price (SRP).

The IRR as applied to agricultural commodities states the Agriculture Secretary, upon the recommendation of the multi-agency Bantay Presyo Technical Committee, may issue SRPs that shall be in effect for a period of no longer than 60 days unless extended or lifted.

“The owner, proprietor, or agent of any establishment found selling or offering for sale to the general public and agricultural commodity at a price exceeding the SRP by more than 10 percent shall constitute a prima facie evidence of profiteering,” the IRR said.

Gazmin, however, said the establishment of the SRP is not meant to be a form of price freeze.

ACIRC AGRICULTURAL AGRICULTURE SECRETARY AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO ALCALA BANTAY PRESYO TECHNICAL COMMITTEE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE GAZMIN IRR LEANDRO GAZMIN PRICE PRICE ACT
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