58 violators of price freeze rule found

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013


THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued notices of violation to 58 retailers, who allegedly violated its price freeze order in Central Visayas.

DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said the violations were noted during the monitoring of department’s provincial offices.

Caberte said the retailers violated Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act. The DTI imposed a price freeze in areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda. Information about the price freeze was published in local and national newspapers.

Those who violate the price freeze will be criminally charged with price manipulation, which is punishable by imprisonment of five to 15 years and a fine of P5,000 to P2 million.

For violating price ceilings, a trader may face imprisonment of one to 10 years or a fine of P5,000 to P1 million.

Sanctions

Violators will also face administrative sanctions, which include a fine of P1,000 to P1 million, temporary closure, reprimand, and suspension or revocation of business permit as provided under Executive Order 913.

Under the Price Act, the DTI monitors the prices of canned fish and other marine products, processed milk, coffee, laundry soap, detergent, candles, bread and salt.

The Department of Agriculture, on the other hand, monitors the prices of rice; corn; cooking oil; fresh eggs; fresh pork/beef and poultry meat; fresh milk; fresh vegetables; root crops; sugar; fresh/dried and other marine products.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources monitors the prices of firewood and charcoal, while the Department of Health monitors essential medicines.

Meetings

Caberte said that aside from conducting an information drive, DTI also held meetings with manufacturers and retailers.

Some consumer groups noticed that the prices of rice and canned goods increased after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu last Oct. 15. Prices reportedly increased further after Yolanda.

Consumers noted that a kilo of Ganador rice increased to P47 from P45 after the earthquake and went up to P53 after Yolanda.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 10, 2013.

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