DTI warns sellers not to increase prices of basic commodities

DTI Monitoring Team checks the price and supply of basic goods in Calapan City.  (Luis T. Cueto/PIA Oriental Mindoro)

CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro, Mar. 27 (PIA) — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)- Mindoro provincial office warns all sellers not to increase the prices of all basic commodities amid the economic and social crises being experienced by consumers due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

DTI Provincial Director Arnel E. Hutalla said that in the tripartite directive of DTI, Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Health (DOH), there will be no manifestation of such increase in the prices of all basic necessities, both in actual stores and online selling while price freeze is in effect throughout the country.

Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-01 took effect on March 18, implementing a nationwide price freeze, following the declaration of State of Public Health Emergency and State of Calamity last March 8 and March 16, respectively.

Said circular covers agricultural and manufactured basic goods, medicines and other medical supplies.

Hutalla clarified that the issuance of such circular enhances the existing measures for ensuring sellers’ compliance with the price freeze of goods being imposed by the law.

Likewise, Hutalla further clarifies that whenever there is a declaration of state of emergency, calamity or other similar conditions, prices of basic commodities shall be automatically frozen at their prevailing prices for a period of 60 days or until sooner lifted by the President.

Thus, DTI-Oriental Mindoro Provincial Team continues to monitor prices of basic commodities in the malls and other stores selling goods all over the province.

Basic goods that are under the jurisdiction of DTI include canned fish and other marine products, instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, laundry and detergent soap, salt, etc.

According to DTI, any person found violating the price freeze law may face a fine ranging between P5,000 and P2,000,000 and imprisonment of not less than five years up to 15 years.

DTI encourages consumers to immediately report business establishments that sell basic necessities beyond the frozen prevailing prices by calling DTI-OrMin at 043-4411118.  (LTC/PIA-OrMin)