MANILA, Philippines -- An automatic 'price freeze' has taken effect in Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and Surigao del Sur, after the provinces were declared under a state of calamity due to typhoon Pablo.
The 60-day price control, which covers basic goods such as rice, bread, salt, sugar, cooking oil, milk, etc., means retailers who implement price adjustments may be slapped with a fine of as much as P2 million, and be imprisoned for up to 15 years.
Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said her agency is now focused on determining inventory levels of commodities in warehouses in the devastated areas so additional goods may be sent if needed.
She also stressed no shortage in the supply of basic goods is foreseen despite the demand for relief goods.
Typhoon Pablo, which made landfall in Davao Oriental on Tuesday, has already killed 325 people and injured 411 as of Thursday morning. Meanwhile, 379 are still missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. - Reports from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News, and Dexter Ganibe, DZMM