THE price freeze on essential commodities imposed three years ago and has found a new lease of life after the declaration of a state of national emergency across the entire country following the bombing incident in Mindnao, is now receiving a review at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
DTI is considering whether it can be lifted in areas where there is clearly no unrest. According to the department, prices and supply of manufactured basic goods have been generally stable before and during the proclamation of the state of national emergency.
However, the price freeze will remain in force “until we come out with an appropriate recommendation for the president,” said the trade secretary, Ramon Lopez, on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, DTI hasreminded retailers to comply with the price freeze. Penalties for violation are severe, which include a fine of P5,000-P1,000,000 and/or imprisonment of 1-10 years.
Republic Act 10623 of September 2013 that amended RA7581, which is known as the Price Act, banned price increase for a wide range of basic commodities from rice, corn and root crops and other daily necessities including water, laundry soap, detergents and essential drugs as classified by the Department of Health during disasters and other emergencies.
For more information on the products covered by the price freeze and their respective prevailing prices, and/or to report retailers that sell above the frozen prices and suggested retail prices, can be obtained from DTI Direct 751.3330 or 0917.8343330 for non-agricultural basic goods; DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service at 920.2216 for agricultural basic goods; DOH-National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management at 651.7800 local 2554 for essential drugs; and, DOE at 840.2130 for LPG and kerosene.