MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry on Sunday reminded businesses that a price freeze is in effect in the entire Luzon after it was placed under a state of calamity following the onslaught of several typhoons.
The agency issued the reminder after retailers complained that their capital was higher than the suggested retail price.
The DTI urged establishments and consumers to check price freeze bulletins through its official website and warned that those who violate the price control may face imprisonment for up to 10 years or a fine between P5,000 to P1 million.
“The DTI is closely coordinating with the manufacturers of basic necessities and prime commodities to ensure the availability and the continuous replenishment of these goods especially in the heavily affected areas,” DTI Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said in a statement.
Under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, the DTI is mandated to monitor the price of basic goods such as canned fish and other marine products, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent, and salt.
The Department of Agriculture, for its part, is tasked to monitor the prices of rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh, dried and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, sugar, and fresh fruits.
Listed essential drugs, and medical supplies/essentials will also have to be checked by the Department of Health, while the Department of Energy monitors the price of household LPG and kerosene, under the same law.
Typhoon Ulysses had inundated large swaths of Luzon after it directly hit the island starting on the night of Nov. 11, leaving at least P10 billion in agricultural and infrastructure damage.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared the Luzon-wide state of calamity a week later, which will remain in effect until he lifts it.
Just weeks prior to Ulysses, the country's main island also suffered from typhoon Quinta and super Typhoon Rolly.
The DTI urged consumers to report retailers, distributors, and basic necessities manufacturers that are not observing automatic price control through its hotline One-DTI (1-384) or email via ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph.