Following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the country’s northern areas, prompting the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to declare the province of Abra under a state of calamity, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reminds business establishments to adhere to the price freeze.
Under Republic Act No. 7581, as amended by RA 10623, or the Price Act, prices of basic necessities (BN) are automatically frozen at their prevailing prices for sixty (60) days once a state of calamity (SOC) is declared in an area. The DTI monitors BN products under its purview such as canned fish, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent, and salt.
Meanwhile, other implementing agencies under the Price Act ensure price stability and availability of supply for the products under their jurisdiction. The Department of Agriculture (DA) is in charge of rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh, dried and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, sugar, fresh fruits while the Department of Health takes care of drugs classified as essential.
“In these trying times, we again appeal to the private sector for assistance in ensuring that our fellow citizens have access to these basic goods, particularly in the most severely affected areas. We assure consumers that our DTI monitors in these provinces will keep an eye on the prices and supply of basic necessities,” says DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group, Atty. Ruth B. Castelo.
According to the Price Act, business establishments found to have violated the price freeze will face a penalty of imprisonment for a period of one (1) year to ten (10) years, or a fine ranging from P5,000.00 to P1,000,000.00, or both, at the discretion of the court.
The basic necessities in the markets of the province of Abra are frozen at their prevailing prices starting 28 July 2022 and will end on 25 September 2022. The public can view the list of basic goods at their prevailing prices on Abra Province’s Facebook page and the DTI website by clicking on the Price Freeze Tab.
Additionally, due to massive flooding caused by the overflowing of the Maridagao and Kabacan Rivers, the prices of BNs in the Municipality of Datu Montawal, Province of Maguindanao, shall remain at their prevailing prices for sixty (60) days, beginning 18 July 2022 and ending 15 September 2022. A state of calamity was also declared in the entire province of Antique on 14 July 2022 due to a dengue outbreak, which automatically put BN prices at their prevailing levels until 11 September 2022.
The price freeze shall be automatically lifted on their end date unless sooner lifted by the President.
Consumers are enjoined to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities above their prevailing prices via One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or email, ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph.