DTI: Automatic price freeze for State of Calamity-declared provinces

(Photo by Joey Sanchez Mendoza)

The Department of Trade and Industry has reminded the public that there will be an automatic price freeze in provinces declared under a State of Calamity after the battering made by Super Typhoon Karding in the previous days.

In an interview, Trade Undersecretary and Consumer Protection group chief Ruth Castelo said the price freeze would prevent prices from shooting up when demand increases due to emergency needs.

“Automatic price freeze is implemented only upon the declaration of a state of calamity or emergency by the LGU concerned. We coordinate with the OCD (Office of the Civil Defense) to advise us on declarations. Automatic price freeze applies only to basic necessities,” she said.

Castelo said they have yet to receive any information from provincial governments and DTI regional offices that a state of calamity has been imposed in affected areas.

“No declaration so far po, so there is still no price freeze. We’re waiting for confirmation from OCD and DTI R4A,” Castelo told the Daily Tribune.

But in a Twitter post, Dingalan, Aurora Mayor Sherwin Taay said he has already ordered the declaration of State of Calamity following the second landfall of Super Typhoon Karding on Sunday morning.

Sections 6 and 7 of the Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act expressly provide that “prices of basic necessities in an area shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control whenever that area is proclaimed or declared a disaster area or under a state of calamity; and a price ceiling may be imposed on any basic necessity or prime commodity considering the impendency, existence, or effects of a calamity.”

Basic commodities collectively refer to rice; corn; bread; fresh, dried, and canned fish and other marine products; fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat; fresh eggs; fresh and processed milk; fresh vegetables; root crops; coffee; sugar; cooking oil; salt; laundry soap; detergents; firewood; charcoal; candles; and drugs classified as essential by the Department of Health.

Violators may face imprisonment for a period of not less than one year but not more than 10 years, or a fine of not less than P5,000 but not more than P1 million.

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