MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Wednesday said a freeze in the prices of basic goods is now in effect in areas which have been declared under a state of calamity due to the massive floods and heavy rains.
"This means means we have automatic price controls and that is being implemented now in Cainta, San Mateo, Laguna, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela. And of course areas that were previously under a state of calamity because of typhoon Gener," Trade Undersecretary Zeny Maglaya said in an interview on ANC.
Non-stop monsoon rains caused heavy flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, killing at least 16 people on Tuesday.
Even though no price freeze is implemented in other areas of Metro Manila, Maglaya said there should be no increase in the price of basic goods in supermarkets.
"Processed goods like canned fish, processed meats and what see in supermarkets should not increase prices. They have inventory and there shouldn't be any problem when it comes to the price of basic necessities," she said.
Asked whether the DTI will consider a price freeze in other areas, Maglaya said they are waiting for reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and DTI monitors on the situation. "It will depend on their assessment. We may recommend if necessary," she said.
However, Maglaya noted prices of fish and vegetables have been increasing since typhoon Gener hit the country last week. But as the weather improves, she noted there should be an improvement in prices of fish and vegetables.
"As of this morning, roads from Baguio are open and we should see improvement in supply. We have other alternatives such as other farms in the north and in Mindanao. That should take care of the supply (of vegetables)," she said.
Maglaya warned retailers of the penalties for hoarding, a maximum jail sentence of 15 years and a P2 million fine.
She called on the public to report any violations, such as overpricing and hoarding, to the DTI (hotline: 751-3330).