To ensure that no retailers take advantage of consumers by selling basic goods and other commodities at price hikes, the Department of Trade and Industry conducts joint monitoring and enforcement activities in the provinces of Cebu, Samar and Leyte with the National Food Authority (NFA), Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Energy (DOE).
The interagency task force aptly named, Proclamation 682 Joint Monitoring/Enforcement Team, has monitored in Cebu, Samar and Leyte on November 20 to 23, 2013.
The team monitored all business establishments who sell basic necessities that are included under price freeze and other critical commodities such as construction materials medicines and petroleum products, and will issue notices of violation to those who are selling above the frozen prices.
“The DTI is taking the lead in this joint monitoring and enforcement activity to ensure that business establishments in the areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda are conforming to Presidential Proclamation 682 and the price freeze,” said lawyer Victorio Mario Dimagiba, DTI Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation Group (CWBRG) officer-in-charge.
With the declaration of state of national calamity, the DTI immediately imposed a nationwide price freeze of basic necessities until sooner lifted by President Benigno Aquino 3rd. Besides the interagency task force, the monitors and enforcers of the DTI in the regions and provinces have been regularly monitoring the prices of commodities in the market to effectively implement the price freeze and impede any violation against the Price Act.
The notices of violation that were issued by the monitoring and enforcement team will be filed and arbitrated in the DTI Head Office by the designated consumer arbitration officers who are commissioned to specifically handle these cases for immediate resolution.
The products that were monitored include: canned goods, rice, sugar, cooking oil, pork, chicken, egg, processed goods, construction materials, electrical lights, Christmas lights, generator sets, matches, dry batteries, flashlights and medicines.
As stated under the Price Act, any person committing any act of price profiteering and hoarding shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of five years up to 15 years, and shall be imposed a fine of P5,000 up to P2 million.
To further assist the consumers in the Visayas region, the DTI has uploaded a list of open business establishments on the DTI website. To check for the list of open stores specifically in the areas of Samar, Ormoc and Tacloban, visit www.openstores.yolanda.dti.gov.ph.
To report retailers selling commodities beyond the price freeze, call DTI Direct 751.3330 or 0917.8343330. For more information on the price freeze and declaration of state of national state of calamity, call DTI-BTRCP at 751.3233 or visit the DTI website www.dti.gov.ph.