The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) automatically imposed price freezes to areas under state of calamity because of torrential rains brought about by the tropical depression Maring.
Victorio Mario Dimagiba, officer in charge of DTI-Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation Group, said that there are areas in Metro Manila as well as cities and towns in several Luzon provinces declared under state of calamity at present.
Due to torrential rains and heavy floods over the weekend, the DTI set price controls to Paranaque City; whole of Cavite province; the whole of Pampanga province; Sta. Rosa City; Binan, Cabuyao, Calamba, Bae, Sta. Maria, Los Banos and San Pedro town of Laguna; Sta. Maria and Narvacan towns of Ilocos Sur; Taytay, Rizal; as well as the whole municipality of Pateros.
Cebu City was declared to have a price freeze as it was placed under state of calamity because of the oil spill in Cordova area.
“Once an area is declared under a state of calamity, an automatic price freeze takes effect immediately. This means that basic commodities must remain at their prevailing prices prior to the declaration,” Dimagiba said.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo is also monitoring the prices through Dimagiba as the secretary is currently attending the Asean Economic Ministers Meeting in Brunei.
The imposed price freeze in the six areas will remain maximum of 60 days, according to the Republic Act No. 7581, the Price Law.
Price controls are set in areas under state of calamity to avoid traders or vendors raising prices and taking advantage of the situation. Breakers of the law will be imprisoned up to 10 years and fined up to P1 million.
Basic commodities imposed of price freeze as per the Price Act include rice; corn; cooking oil; fresh, dried and canned fish and any marine produce; eggs; fresh pork, beef and poultry; fresh and processed milk; vegetables; root crops; sugar; coffee; laundry soap; detergent; candles; bread; salt; firewood and charcoal; as well as medicines and drugs classified essential as per the Department of Health.