The Quezon City government is ready to extend assistance to small scale retailers who will be affected by the mandated rice price ceiling.

City mayor Joy Belmonte said qualified retailers may avail of any one of its assistance  programs for small business owners,  in order for them to remain operational. 

“Nabalitaan natin na may ibang market stalls at tindahan na pansamantalang nagsara dahil hindi kinaya ang price cap sa bigas. Kaya naman gagawa tayo ng paraan na sila ay matulungan dahil kapag sila naman ang tumigil, apektado pati ang pamilya ng kanilang mga manggagawa na halos lahat naman ay taga-QC,” Belmonte said.

“The city government may waive rental fees or provide discounts to rice dealers, wholesalers, and retailers in the city to help alleviate any challenges they may face due to these price adjustments,” she added.

Mayor Joy Belmonte, together with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary Atty. Agaton Uvero and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Romando Artes, conducted on Tuesday an inspection of the prices of rice at Mega Q Mart. 

This comes as part of the city’s commitment, through the QC Price Coordinating Council (QCPCC), to enforce the price ceiling on rice. 

She added that the city government is open to dialogue to address all concerns on the issue.

“Hindi natin isinusulong ang pagpataw ng parusa sa mga rice retailers. Alam naman natin ang kalagayan nila, hindi naman sila masasamang tao. Ang ating layunin, makipagdayalogo sa kanila para makahanap tayo ng win-win solution para sa mga nagtitinda at sa mga mamimili,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Belmonte also tasked the QCPCC Enforcement Team to closely monitor the compliance of all markets. 

The Market Development and Administration Department (MDAD) and the Business Permits and Licensing Department (BPLD) have been instructed with the widespread dissemination, implementation, and adherence to the EO. 

“The QCPCC has been ordered to regularly conduct dialogues and coordination with affected establishments and submit a comprehensive report to the relevant government agencies. This will include any attempts by individuals or establishments to exploit the situation to the detriment of our constituents, consumers, and small retailers already facing economic challenges due to soaring commodity prices,” said Ma. Margarita Santos, head of BPLD and MDAD Officer-in-Charge. 

In line with the issuance of Executive Order No. 39, series of 2023, by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last August 31 which mandated a price ceiling on two varieties of rice, Belmonte stressed the importance of cooperation between the city government and the dealers, wholesalers, and retailers of rice in the city. 

Under the said EO, the mandated price ceiling for Regular Milled Rice is P41 per kilogram while the price cap for Well-Milled Rice is P45 per kilogram.