Typhoon-affected areas get price freeze

Punitive sanctions await those who defy price reeze orders in areas hit by typhoon “Usman.”       CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

After municipalities in the province of Oriental Mindoro were put under state of calamity following the onslaught of typhoon “Usman,” the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) provincial office issued price freeze bulletins to prevent consumers from potential price abuses.

As a measure to protect its inhabitants and provide relief to typhoon victims, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution 4527-2018 declared the municipalities of Baco, Naujan, Socorro, Pola, Pinamalayan, Bansud and Bongabong and the City of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro under a state of calamity.

This also puts the prevailing prices in the areas under automatic price control for a period of 60 days unless sooner lifted, in accordance to the Section 6 of the Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act. The Act calls for prevailing prices to be automatically frozen in areas under state of calamity or emergency.

“The Price Act provides that any retailers found selling more than the listed prevailing prices shall be imposed with an administrative fine of up to P1 million and/or a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment,” the DTI Oriental Mindoro office elaborated in its Facebook post.
The bulletins, directed at local government units, were issued to guide consumers and establishments selling basic necessities and prime commodities.

DTI said that even though supply and prices of basic and prime commodities are expected to remain stable due to continuous movement of goods to and from the Port of Calapan, the bulletin was issued to prevent potential abuses.

Members of the Price Monitoring Team were also mobilized to monitor the supply and prices of the commodities. Local price coordinating councils were also activated to maintain and update price billboards in the public market to guide consumers on the price of various produce, especially livestock, vegetables and fishery products.

Typhoon “Usman,” which brought devastating floods and triggered landslides in the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions in late December, affected about 75,326 families or about 308,451 persons, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Aside from Oriental Mindoro, the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon as well as the Bulan town in Sorsogon were also put under state of calamity.

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