THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reminded business establishments in Abra that there will be no movement in the prices of basic necessities following the Province’s declaration of a state of calamity.

The Provincial Board of Abra earlier declared the province under state of calamity following the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Abra and affected other areas in Luzon.

The DTI, in a press release, said that the price freeze started on July 28 and will end on September 25, 2022.

It said that under Republic Act (RA) 7581, as amended by RA 10623, or the Price Act, prices of basic necessities are automatically frozen at their prevailing prices for 60 days once a state of calamity is declared in an area.

The agency monitors the products under its purview, such as canned fish, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent, and salt.

Aside from DTI, other implementing agencies under the Price Act are also tasked to ensure price stability and availability of supply for the products under their jurisdiction.

The Department of Agriculture 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.

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,” said DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group lawyer Ruth Castelo.

Under the Price Act, business establishments found to have violated the price freeze will face a penalty of imprisonment for a period of one to 10 years, or a fine ranging from P5,000 to P1,000,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.

Meanwhile, due to massive flooding caused by the overflowing of the Maridagao and Kabacan Rivers, the prices of basic necessities in the Municipality of Datu Montawal, Province of Maguindanao will remain at their prevailing prices for 60 days.

This started on July 18 and will end on September 15, 2022, said the DTI.

A state of calamity was also declared in the entire province of Antique on July 14, 2022 due to a dengue outbreak, which automatically put the prices of basic necessities at their prevailing levels until September 11, 2022.

The price freeze will be automatically lifted on their end date unless sooner lifted by the President. (LMY/PR)