THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is working on the reactivation of more local price coordinating councils (LPCCs) to ensure effective oversight of the market during disruptive climate events such as La Niña.

“We are intensifying our efforts to ensure even more effective oversight, particularly as we brace for the impacts of La Niña,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in a statement on Monday.

“In addition, we are working closely with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to reactivate the LPCCs, which are crucial partners in our price monitoring initiatives,” he added.

According to the DILG, 1,335 or 78% of the 1,716 local government units have reactivated their LPCCs.

LPCCs are tasked with coordinating and rationalizing programs to stabilize prices and supply, recommend suggested retail prices or ceiling prices for certain basic necessities, and conduct in-depth analyses of price fluctuations in their respective areas.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pascual said that the Department of National Defense has committed to supporting agencies involved in price monitoring of basic necessities and prime commodities at the recent Presidential task force meeting on El Niño response.

“This collaboration underscores the government’s unified approach to safeguarding the public against exploitative practices,” he said.

“We remind the public that in areas declared under a state of calamity due to La Niña, automatic price control comes into effect,” he added.

Under Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act, prices of basic necessities are automatically frozen at their prevailing levels for up to 60 days in areas declared under a state of calamity.

“The DTI is steadfast in enforcing these regulations, and any individuals caught engaging in illegal price manipulation will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Mr. Pascual said.

PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), the government weather service, said there is a 60% change in La Niña occurring between June and August as El Niño weakens.

In 2024, the DA said that it is preparing for a “more destructive” La Niña, which it expects to affect crops late in the year. — Justine Irish D. Tabile