Price freeze on basic necessities and prime commodities is in effect in several areas in the country affected by the incessant rains, resulting in the declaration of state of calamities (SOC), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced.
The areas covered in the price freeze are located in the provinces of Palawan; Leyte; Samar and Eastern Samar and Northern Samar; Zamboanga del Norte and Sur; Misamis Oriental and Occidental; Lanao del Norte; Davao del Norte; and Surigao del Norte and Sur.
The effects of the northeast monsoon, shear line, and low-pressure area prompted the declaration of SOC in the affected provinces, municipalities, and barangays, the DTI added.
The DTI has reminded business establishments to comply with the price freeze. Under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, as amended by RA 10623, prices of basic necessities (BN) are automatically frozen at their prevailing prices for sixty days once a state of calamity is declared in an area.
The price freeze shall be automatically terminated after 60 days unless sooner lifted by the President. To ensure the stability of prices and availability of supply, the DTI monitors products under its jurisdiction such as canned fish, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent, and salt.
The DTI also posts and publishes the lists of prevailing prices of these products in the areas declared under a state of calamity in the DTI website (www.dti.gov.ph).
"Aside from basic necessities, our regional and provincial offices' monitoring teams also check for the price and supply of other commodities. We urge manufacturers to ensure adequate supply in these areas," said DTI Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary, Atty. Ruth B. Castelo.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is in charge of monitoring the price and supply 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, fresh fruits. On the other hand, the Department of Health (DOH) keeps watch on the price and supply 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 year to ten years, or a fine ranging from P5,000.00 to P1,000,000.00, or both, at the discretion of the court.
Consumers are enjoined 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.