Following the onslaught of Typhoon Paeng in the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reminds business establishments in areas under State of Calamity to adhere to the price freeze on basic necessities.“The DTI is closely coordinating with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) on the declarations of State of Calamity. Automatic price freeze shall apply to basic necessities. Establishments found violating the price freeze may be subjected to administrative cases and fines,” DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual said.
“The DTI monitoring teams in the regions and provinces check the supermarkets and grocery stores to ensure availability of supply and stability of prices. We also encourage consumers to be vigilant and report any violation or incident of overpricing or hoarding,” Trade Secretary Pascual adds.
Under Republic Act No. 7581, or the Price Act, as amended, prices of basic necessities (BN) are automatically frozen at their prevailing prices for sixty (60) days once a State of Calamity (SOC) is declared in an area. The DTI monitors BN products under its purview such as canned fish, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent, and salt.
Meanwhile, other implementing agencies of the Price Act ensure price stability and availability of supply for the products under their jurisdiction. The Department of Agriculture (DA) is in charge of rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh, dried and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, sugar, and fresh fruits while the Department of Health takes care of drugs classified as essential.
According to the Price Act, business establishments found to have violated the price freeze will face a penalty of imprisonment for a period of one (1) year to ten (10) years, or a fine ranging from P5,000.00 to P1,000,000.00, or both, at the discretion of the court.
The price freeze shall be automatically lifted on their end date unless sooner lifted by the President.
Consumers are urged to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities above their prevailing prices via One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or email, ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph