Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has formed a price monitoring team to protect the public from predatory pricing as he warned profiteers of severe sanctions if caught selling “noche buena” products and other basic needs at prices higher than imposed by the government.
The Manila chief executive instructed Market Administration office chief Annie Balboa to conduct regulars inspections in the public markets to monitor the prices of goods and report unscrupulous vendors and stallholders.
The order was made after Estrada observed that prices of products traditionally served on Christmas Eve usually start to go up, in most instances much higher than the suggested retail price at the onset of the “ber” months.
Balboa assured the public that city hall inspectors will remain extra vigilant against erring vendors and stallholders taking advantage of the strong demand for noche buena commodities.
These items include pasta, cheese balls, canned fruit cocktails, hams, macaroni, spaghetti, and tomato sauces, as well as fresh fruits.
Estrada said the City Hall Monitoring team will constantly monitor the price movements not just of noche buena products, but also the prices of rice to make sure that the prices will not go far beyond the suggested prices.
The former President warned traders of possible charges if caught selling these goods at very high prices.
“Don’t take advantage of earning too much at the expense of our kababayan. The prices of petroleum products went down and even the prices of rice is back to its old price,” Estrada said.
The intensified monitoring is meant to ensure stable prices and supplies of basic goods this Christmas season, and protect consumers from unscrupulous traders taking advantage of the spike in shopping activities.
The mayor also appealed to all traders, vendors and business establishments “to be good Christians as Christmas is meant for giving and sharing.”