Rent moratorium for rice retailers imposed

Image from Ruffy Biazon Facebook page
Image from Ruffy Biazon Facebook page

The Muntinlupa City Council passed an ordinance imposing moratorium on rental payment for public stall holders selling rice as a form of assistance to the traders due to the effectivity of the price caps.

Mayor Ruffy Biazon signed Ordinance 2023-120 last Tuesday, 26 September, which became "effective immediately upon its approval."

The ordinance states that the President issued E.O. 39 "with an end view to put a price cap on rice in the effort to ease off the increasing price of the staple caused by illegal price manipulation such as hoarding by opportunistic traders and collusion among industry cartels in the light of the lean season, as well as global events taking place beyond the Philippines' control, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India's ban on rice exportation, and the unpredictability of oil prices in the world market, among other factors, have caused an alarming increase in the retail prices of rice."

In consonance with the presidential order, the city government was prompted to impose the moratorium on the collection of rental payment from stall holders engaged in the selling of rice as assistance to them due to a price cap on regular and well-milled rice.

On 31 August, Marcos issued Executive Order 39 imposing a mandated price ceiling of P41 per kilo for regular milled rice and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice. The rice price cap took effect on 5 September.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government issued Memorandum Circular 2023-131 for mayors to assist and ensure the effective regulation of the price of rice through "regular inspections of public and private markets, as well as rice warehouses; activation of hotlines, consumer complaints desk, and Timbangan ng Bayan; and deputation of barangay officials and non-government organizations to monitor abnormal price increases," the ordinance added.

The DILG also issued an unnumbered memorandum urging local government units "a) grant rent discounts; b) waive market fees; or c) pass a moratorium on rental payments, for public stall holders engaged in the business of selling rice for a period of two weeks to one month, subject to the discretion of the LGUs."

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