The Department of Trade and Industry on Sunday imposed price controls on basic commodities in four provinces and one town that have been declared in a state of calamity due to the devastation caused by Typhoon “Nona.”
Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba said the price freeze was in effect in the provinces of Northern Samar, Oriental Mindoro, Albay and Sorsogon and the town of Torrijos in Marinduque.
The order would last for at least two weeks, he said.
Dimagiba announced over radio dzBB that the controls will keep the cost of canned goods, noodles, bottled water, coffee, milk, sugar, rice, cooking oil and other basic commodities at levels before the state of calamity was declared.
Traders caught hoarding supplies or unduly raising prices could pay fines of up to P1 million, Dimagiba said.
In Oriental Mindoro, Dimagiba reported, the prices of galvanized iron sheets for roofing have increased by P20 to P30 apiece.
“That’s a clear case of violation of the Price Act, which prohibits profiteering and hoarding. Those are grave offenses that come with stiff penalties like paying fines of up to P1 million. They could end up having their business licenses cancelled,” he explained.
“People who have money in the area are now buying materials for repair. Let us help them, instead of victimizing them,” he said.
Traders, he said, should not take advantage of the situation considering that most roads are now passable and open to traffic.
Next week, Dimagiba said, a “Diskwento Caravan,” spearheaded by the private sector would be launched in calamity-stricken areas.
“The goods to be sold will have discounts of 10 percent, 20 percent up to 30 percent,” Dimagiba said.
“Profiteering and hoarding, that’s prohibited. If they keep stocks for purposes of selling, and not for purposes of keeping and then after awhile they will jack up prices, they can be charged,” he warned.