DAGUPAN CITY — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial office in Pangasinan has intensified its monitoring of business establishments selling basic and prime commodities to ensure that the price freeze is being implemented.
The price control took effect after President Rodrigo Duterte placed under state of calamity on Sept. 25 Regions 1 (Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley), 3 (Central Luzon) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), which were affected by Typhoon Ompong. Pangasinan is one of the provinces in Region 1.
DTI Provincial Director Peter Mangabat, in an interview on Tuesday, said the suggested retail price (SRP) of the basic and prime commodities prior to the declaration of state of calamity in these regions will be retained within 60 days, or until Nov. 25.
Mangabat added that the agency has been intensifying its SRP monitoring especially with the implementation of price freeze since July when the province was first placed under state of calamity through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Meanwhile, Mangabat reiterated the warning against unscrupulous businessmen.
“We need to follow the law. Our province is under the state of calamity –meaning that they (businesses) do not have the authority to make much profit by adding more than the SRP. Businessmen should not manipulate that,” he said.
Mangabat cited Section 6 of Republic Act 7581, otherwise known as the “Price Act”, which stipulates that prices of basic necessities are automatically frozen at their current prices, or are placed under automatic price control during state of calamity.
The Price Act provides penalty for violators of imprisonment for a period of one year to 10 years, or a fine of PHP5,000 to PHP1 million, or both, at the discretion of the court.
“Sari-sari stores are technically covered by the price freeze too, but we allow additional costing on top of the SRP in consideration to their transportation cost and other overhead costs as they are also doing service for their community, especially those in far flung areas. However, we also urged them to lessen the additional price they will add to the SRP,” he said.
Mangabat added that businessmen in Pangasinan are so far compliant with the price freeze based on their monitoring.
“But we encourage consumers to report to us if there are violations of the price freeze. They can check the SRP at our website www.dti.gov.ph,” he added. Hilda Austria/PNA – northboundasia.com