THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Central Luzon has reminded consumers and establishments that a price freeze on basic needs and prime commodities is in place across the country.
Under the freeze, DTI-Central Luzon Director Judith Angeles said prices of basic and prime commodities are frozen at their prevailing prices once a state of calamity or public emergency is declared as stipulated under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act.
It could be remembered that President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public emergency across the country on March 8 following the spike on confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in the country.
Goods covered under the said order include products like canned goods, processed milk, coffee, soap, candles, bread, salt, instant noodles, bottled water and prime commodities such as flour, canned pork, chicken and beef, condiments, paper and school supplies.
Construction materials such as cement, nails, GI sheets, clinker and hollow blocks, and electrical supplies such as light bulbs and steel wires, and essential drugs, firewood and charcoal, household LPG and kerosene are also included in the list.
Meanwhile, Angeles also reminded buyers to refrain from panic buying, as this act would only tend to exacerbate the situation and compromise the supply and prices of basic needs and prime commodities.
The DTI provincial offices in Central Luzon are continuously monitoring the prices and supply of basic and prime commodities to ensure the welfare of the buying public, Angeles said.
Because of the declaration of the public health emergency and the price freeze, Angeles said business establishments are also warned against illegal acts under RA 7581 such as profiteering, hoarding and cartel all of which are considered acts of illegal price manipulation and is punishable with imprisonment and fines up to P2 million.