DTI reminds stores: Price freeze still in effect in calamity areas
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Trade and Industry has reminded stores within areas declared to be in a state of calamity to observe the price freeze, after it found one store in Muntinlupa City violating the provisions in the Price Act.
In a statement, the DTI identified the store as the Maxi-K Store in Muntinlupa City Public Market, which was found to be selling coffee and powdered milk at prices 65 centavos to P4.10 higher than the so-called “frozen prices,” after it conducted a special monitoring activity in the city.
The DTI said on Monday it would issue a show cause order (SCO) to the Maxi-K store, the owner of which would have to explain why the store has not been observing the price freeze.
“Muntinlupa City is under a State of Calamity and therefore, the 60-day price freeze is automatically in effect in their area. As such, prices of basic necessities in the city must be frozen at their prevailing prices and should not exceed the suggested retail prices (SRPs),” explained Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba.
Several areas were placed under state of calamity after Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) swept through the country two weeks ago. These included Muntinlupa City; Obando, Bulacan; Bataan; Laguna; Cavite; Quezon Province; Albay; and Camarines Sur.
The price freeze, effective for 60 days, covered basic necessities such as canned fish and other canned marine products, evaporated milk, condensed milk, powdered milk, coffee, laundry bar and detergent, instant noodles, bread, salt, candles, bottled water, rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh and dried fish and other marine products, fresh eggs, pork, beef, poultry, fresh milk, fresh vegetables and fruits, root crops, and sugar.
Cooking gas or liquified petroleum gas, and kerosene are also covered by the price freeze. However, prices of these fuel products are frozen at their prevailing prices for 15 days instead of 60 days.
Section 6 of the Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act provides that when an area is proclaimed or declared a disaster area or under a state of calamity, prices of basic necessities in an area shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control.
Violators of the price freeze may be liable to pay an administrative fine of up to P1 million and/or spend a maximum of 10 years in prison.
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