The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that basic food products such as rice, noodles and breads will still be “in demand” for the next three days.
In a radio interview, Victorio Mario Dimaguiba, DTI-Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation Groups (CWBRG) officer-in-charge, said that the agency is already talking to different food producers in the country to add supplies to stores and supermarkets to meet the demands of food security, mostly of agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, organizations and evacuation centers.
Dimaguiba also advised the public not to “engage in panic buying” due to the woes brought about by tropical depression Maring as there is “adequate supply” of consumer goods in the market with their prices stable.
He also said that prices of basic commodities—mostly in Luzon and Metro Manila region—are “stable” as the agency’s team continues to “monitor prices and go around in markets,” ensuring price stability and watching out for traders and vendors taking advantage of the situation.
According to the Republic Act No. 7581, or the Price Law, any profiteers caught taking advantage of the calamity situation will face imprisonment up to 10 years and a penalty fee of up to P1 million.
The DTI-CWBRG automatically directed calamity areas to implement price freeze in provinces, cities, municipalities and towns declared under state of calamity, which will last not more than 60 days of the directive.
“Maring,” which already out of the Philippine area of responsibility by 9 a.m. today, put several areas to state of calamity which include Bataan, Camanava area, Cavite, Sta. Maria and Narvacan in Ilocos Sur, Laguna, Muntinlupa, Pateros, Pampanga, Sta. Barbara in Pangasinan, Paranaque, San Mateo and Taytay in Rizal, and Cebu because of the oil spill incident in the area.
Because of the inclement weather that passed, some stores stopped operations and closed for the day, while the others do not have enough supply of staple food products like breads.
Dimaguiba told local producers, especially bakeries and supermarkets nationwide, to “ensure adequate supply of basic necessities especially in affected areas and extension of operating hours to accommodate all the consumers.”