AS THE Covid-19 outbreak could lead some businesspersons to jack up the prices of basic goods, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) declared a price freeze on all basic necessities for 60 days Tuesday, March 10.
The decision was made after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 922, which declared a state of public health emergency throughout the country.
“According to the Price Act or RA 7581, the price freeze is implemented during a declaration of a state of emergency. It will take effect for 60 days for basic goods and 15 days for household liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene,” the DTI said in a statement.
The DTI Cebu started its field monitoring of basic commodities Wednesday, March 11. Penalties for violating the price freeze include fines ranging from P5,000 to P1 million, and/or imprisonment of one year up to 10 years.
The primary goods listed in the price freeze include rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh, dried and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef, vegetables, root crops, sugar and fresh fruits. The prices of these products will also be monitored by the Department of Agriculture.
Other products included in the price freeze are canned fish and other marine products, processed milk, coffee, laundry soap, detergent, candles, bread, salt, potable water in bottles and containers and locally manufactured instant noodles.
The DTI handles the monitoring of these goods.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources monitors the prices of firewood and charcoal, while the Department of Energy is tasked to ensure that the current prices of household liquefied petroleum gas and kesorene remain the same.
Drugs classified as essential by the Department of Health are also included in the price freeze.
The President issued Proclamation 922 last Sunday, March 8, to address the Covid-19 threat. His declaration will give easy access to funding, ease procurement processes, enforce mandatory reporting and quarantine, and impose travel restrictions, as provided under Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act. (JOB)