THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Dumaguete City has issued one notice of violation (NOV) to a business establishment in Bindoy town.

This, after DTI conducted price monitoring to 15 major trading centers or establishments for this week in Negros Oriental, said DTI Information Officer Krystle Jade Bato.

DTI heightened its monitoring across the province to check the prices and supply of basic necessities and prime commodities after Typhoon Odette hit the province.

In Central Visayas, the agency has issued 76 letters of inquiries and 11 NOVs to non-compliant establishments of the price freeze order, and to retailers of hardware and construction materials in violation to Fair Trade Laws, as of January 10.

In Cebu, there were eight LOIs issued, while two NOVs were served to erring establishments.

In Bohol, around 68 LOIs or show cause orders and nine NOVs were issued to non-compliant supermarkets and stores of the price freeze order and to retailers of hardware and construction materials who were in violation of Fair Trade Laws.

This is pursuant to Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, which gives DTI jurisdiction to ensure that the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities are at reasonable levels, and to Republic Act 71, or the Price Tag Law, which requires that all consumer products sold in retail to the public shall have appropriate price tag, label, or marking indicating their prices and shall not be sold at a higher price than that stated on the price tag.

Both laws protect consumers from illegal acts of price manipulation, such as hoarding, profiteering, and cartel.

According to the law, erring retailers may be penalized for violation of Price Ceilings with a fine of not less than P5,000 or not more than P1 million.

For acts of illegal price manipulation (profiteering, hoarding and cartel), erring retailers may be penalized with a fine of not less than P5,000 or not more than P2 million.

It is the policy of the government to make certain the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities are at reasonable prices at all times without denying legitimate businesses a fair return of investment.

It also provides effective protection for consumers against illegal price spikes. (PIA)