Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. has formed a Technical Working Group (TWG) tasked to draft the rules and regulations to implement Section 9 of the Price Act relating to agricultural products.

The Price Act, or Republic Act 7581, was enacted to stabilize the supply and prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, to safeguard consumers against unreasonable price hikes and ensure fair practices within the market. The Department of Agriculture was identified as the lead agency tasked to stabilize prices of agricultural crops, fish and other marine products, fresh meat, fresh poultry, dairy products, fertilizers and other farm inputs during emergencies. 

The Special Order 18 issued by Sec. Tiu Laurel underscores Section 9 of RA 7581 that provides the allocation of a buffer fund for the procurement, purchase, importation or stockpiling of basic necessities or prime commodities, and determine ways to distribute these items during times of shortages or if there is a need to influence market prices. 

Assistant Secretary for Policy Research and Development Noel A. Padre was designated as head of the 8-member TWG. Assistant Secretary for Regulations Atty. Paz Benavidez II was named co-chairperson while director Jerome Bunyi, Officer-in-charge for Policy Research Service, was appointed vice chairperson. 

Secretary Tiu Laurel ordered the TWG to develop a clear and concise set of rules to implement Section 9 of the Price Act, engage the Department of Trade and Industry and other government agencies in developing the IRR, consult with relevant stakeholders including consumer groups and market experts, and ensure the IRR hews to the legal framework under the Price Act. 

Personnel from the Policy Research Service, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Regulations (OASR) and the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) shall form part of the TWG’s Secretariat and provide technical and administrative support to the group.### (OSEC Comms/photo by Joseph Henry Elamparo, DA-AFID)