DTI-12 steps up monitoring vs. price increase of basic commodities

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 31 May) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 12 has stepped up its monitoring on the price freeze for basic commodities in line with the prevailing martial law in Mindanao.

Vanessa Claire Pleña, DTI-12 information officer, said Wednesday the agency has dispatched teams to monitor the prices of basic goods in supermarkets, public markets and other establishments within the region.

She said they are specifically monitoring the compliance of local retailers to the price freeze and possible violations.

Following the declaration of martial law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in all of Mindanao last May 23, she said prices of basic commodities are automatically frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control.

Such move was based on the provisions of Section 6 of Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, she said.

The martial law declaration was the national government’s response to the attacks staged by members of a local terror group in Marawi City.

Aside from the monitoring activities, Pleña said personnel from DTI-12 provincial offices have also launched awareness campaigns regarding the price freeze.

Pleña noted that an automatic price control takes effect “whenever an area is declared under state of calamity, disaster, emergency, rebellion, war, martial law, or when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended.”

She said the basic commodities covered by their monitoring activities are bread, canned fish and other marine products; potable water in bottles and containers; process milk; locally manufactured instant noodles; coffee, salt, laundry soap, detergent and candles.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is also assisting the monitoring activities for several other basic goods, she said.

Pleña said DA was tasked to monitor the prices of rice, corn, root crops, fresh, dried fish and other marine products; fresh eggs; fresh pork, beef and poultry meat; fresh milk; fresh vegetables; fresh fruits; sugar; and cooking oil.

Aside from Region 12, the price freeze is also in effect in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, and Caraga Region.

A statement released by DTI said that unless sooner lifted by the President, the price control will be in effect for 60 days for basic necessities, and 15 days for household liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene from the date of the martial law declaration.

It said business establishments that would be found violating the automatic price control will face fines ranging from P5,000 to P1 million and/or imprisonment of up to 10 years. (MindaNews)