Virac mayor imposes fish price ceiling

VIRAC, Catanduanes (Bicol Standard)—Market stalls were completely empty of fresh fish today (March 2) at the Virac Public Market after Mayor Sinforoso “Posoy” Sarmiento started the implementation of an ordinance imposing price ceiling of fresh fish sold within the municipal jurisdiction of this town.

Vendors said this is their way of showing their united stand against the ordinance, which they say is unfair and would result to huge losses on their part.

Sarmiento clarified that the imposition of the price ceiling is legal and legitimate, since it is based on an approved Municipal Ordinance, which has not been superseded or amended.

Sarmiento was pertaining to Municipal Ordinance No. 207-04 (A) (Amending Section 1 of the Municipal 001-02 pertaining to the price ceiling of fresh fish) and Municipal Ordinance No. 2005-09 (Regulating the place of vending/selling of fresh fish and meat within the Virac Public Market and within the Virac Poblacion).

Interviewed by the Bicol Standard, Sarmiento admitted the prices under the ordinance are quite low.

In fact, the Sangguniang Bayan is crafting an ordinance to amend the existing ordinance.

Also, they already foresaw that the vendors will not sell fish at a loss.

“This is a learning experience for everyone,” Sarmiento emphasized.

“It is my duty to implement the law, which was approved during the previous administration, but was never implemented,” he added.

“It is my hope that through this experience, we will have a better cooperation and understanding among the consumers, vendors, and fisherfolk.”

Under Municipal Ordinance No. 207-04 (A), bangus has a price ceiling of P120 per kilo; lapu-lapu, P200; canoos, P150; colambutan, P130; dalagang bukid, P110; bangkulis (white fin) P110; borao, P140; canasi, P100; sapsap, P80, and kuwaw, P100, among others.

The same ordinance provides the following penalties: first offense – a fine of P1,000 and confiscation of fish product; second offense – a fine of P2,000 and confiscation of fish product; and third offense, a fine of P2,500 and revocation of business permit/license.

Meanwhile, under Municipal Ordinance No. 2005-09, price tags shall be placed on every variety of fresh fish to be sold. Any person or group of persons found violating this ordinance shall be meted with the following: first offense – P1,000 pesos or temporary closure of business unit if unable to pay on time; second offense – P2,500 of cancellation of permit. (With report from Ramil Soliveres)