Price freeze on basic goods to be extended
MANILA - Only producers of basic goods needed in the time of COVID-19-- like food, medicine, disinfectants -- will be allowed to continue manufacturing operations under the "enhanced community quarantine" in Luzon, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday.
"We are limiting [manufacturing] to the basic talaga. Food, medicine and the disinfectants. Kung makapasok doon -- yung mga disinfectants yung mga alchohol, yung mga clorox type -- pwede po 'yan [ituloy]. Pero kung yung mga pong hygiene products, yung soap, hindi na muna," Lopez said in a press briefing.
(We are limiting manufacturing to the basic goods. Food, medicine and the disinfectants. If it enters that category -- disinfectants, alcohol, clorox type -- that's allowed [to continue]. But if they are making hygiene products, like soap, they cannot yet continue.)
"We believe there is enough inventory of this (soap). One month lang naman ito (The quarantine is only one month)," he added.
Exempting all manufacturers of products that are not necessary, based on the guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine, may lead to a having many workers moving around, which could lead to more people getting infected.
"We're able to get some concessions na yung pinakabasic [manufacturers] na lang ang buksan. But remember, ang pinakaobjective natin yung limit yung paglabas ng tao, paglimit ng paglabas ng ating mga kababayan para hindi talaga kumalat ang sakit na ito.
(We able to get some concessions that only basic manufacturers will be allowed to open. But remember, our primary objective is to limit the movement of people, the movement of our countrymen so this disease will not spread.)
Earlier in the day, Luzon was placed under strict home quarantine after cases of the COVID-19 continued to rise.
All forms of transport of basic goods -- like food, medicine and disinfectants -- were exempted from the restrictions.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier advised establishments it froze prices of basic goods for 60 days, following President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration on March 9 of a State of Public Health Emergency.
Lopez said they will extend the price freeze, after President Duterte placed the Philippines under state of calamity on Tuesday, to enable government to respond better to the COVID-19 crisis. The Philippines now has more than 180 cases with 14 deaths.
The state of calamity is effective for 6 months unless the President lifts it earlier or extends it further.
"We will just renew the price freeze. Kasi nasa batas, 60 days lang ang price freeze (Under law, price freeze is only for 60 days). Pagka-state of calamity, price freeze talaga (During state of calamity, price freeze is really implemented)," he said.