MANILA — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Thursday reminded retailers and consumers in areas, which are declared under state of calamity, of the 60-day price freeze under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act.
“The DTI reminds the consumers and retailers that when an area is declared under state of calamity (SOC), prices of basic necessities are frozen at their prevailing prices for 60 days or until the declaration of SOC is sooner lifted by the local government,” DTI Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said in a text message.
Under the law, products that should have stable prices for 60 days since the declaration of state of calamity include canned sardines, processed milk, bottled water, locally manufactured instant noodles, coffee, detergent soap, bread, candles, salt, rice, corn, and cooking oil.
Fresh pork, beef, poultry meat, fresh and dried fish and other marine products, fresh egg, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, root crops and sugar are also included.
Prices of household liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene shall also have no movement for 15 days.
Severe flooding brought by southwest monsoon or habagat in the past days prompted local government units to declare their areas under state of calamity.
These areas include Marikina City in Metro Manila, San Mateo in Rizal, Sto.Tomas in Pampanga, and Meycauayan City, Hagonoy, Paombong, Calumpit, and Marilao in Bulacan.
“Consumers are enjoined to report to the DTI any increase in the prices of basic goods,” Castelo added.
Irregularities in prices may be reported through DTI consumer hotline 1-384 (1-DTI) or ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph.
An administrative fine of PHP5,000 up to PHP1 million and imprisonment of five to 15 years will be imposed on retailers, who will illegally manipulate prices in areas declared under state of calamity. PNA-northboundasia.com