Duterte warns profiteers; Talisay cops make arrests

·2 min read

TRADERS and businesses unreasonably jacking up prices of basic goods and construction materials in areas devastated by Typhoon Odette (Rai) will be held accountable, President Rodrigo Duterte warned Monday, Dec. 27, 2021.

“I am just giving you the warning na ‘pag nahuli kayo ng DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) or nahuli kayo ng pulis -- ang pulis because the jurisdiction dito sa putting a cap on the prices of goods belongs to -- and even building materials, nasa sa iyo,” Duterte said in his televised weekly Talk to the People.

“Tell us if there has been a violation or violations during this time because we can identify them and the Philippine National Police, we will ask them to arrest the hoarders and people who are taking advantage of the situation,” he added after hearing the report of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Lopez told Duterte that there is a price freeze in areas hit by the typhoon but that days after the storm, a lot of businesses reportedly increased prices, taking advantage of the situation.

He said he had ordered their enforcers to arrest those who were overpricing.

Lopez said many profiteers had been apprehended in Bohol and Cebu, and they also received reports that some traders raised the prices of power generator sets.

Lopez said 50 explanation letters and 50 inquiry letters had been served, and a case would be filed after that if the establishments could not justify the increase in their prices.

There were also reported increases in fuel prices in several areas, with some doubling or tripling the price to between P120 to P180 per liter, according to Lopez.

But after the traders were reprimanded, Lopez said the fuel price in Maasin City; Macrohon, Southern Leyte; and even in the Caraga region now ranges below P56 to P50 per liter.

In Talisay City, Cebu, police confiscated a total of P33,000 worth of gasoline from five resellers sold at high prices, taking advantage of the fuel demand after Typhoon Odette hit the province last Dec. 16.

In three operations conducted in different barangays in the city in the past days, police arrested five persons for selling the overpriced gasoline, the city's police chief Lt. Col. Randy Caballes said.

He said they had received complaints that these resellers sold a liter of gasoline for P150, which is double the original price of from P60 to P68 a liter.

In Cebu, motorists who wish to avoid the long lines at gasoline stations buy gasoline placed by resellers in one-liter soft drink bottles at these higher prices.

Government pronouncements that Cebu has enough supply of fuel has not deterred anxious motorists from flocking to gasoline stations. (BBT / KAL, PR)

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