the Department of Commerce and Industry advised traders against excessive prices and price increases in typhoon-stricken areas of Visayas and Mindanao.
Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai) ransacked towns and municipalities in these areas and other parts of the country before Christmas week.
In a notice published Monday, December 27, the DTI said overpricing and price increases are prohibited in these affected regions which have been placed under states of calamity.
âThe Ministry of Commerce and Industry is sending an important notice on the prohibition of overvaluation and price increases, especially those located in the affected regions in a state of calamity (namely MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and CARAGA), as these are violations of Republic Law 7581 or also known as the “Price Law”, “the agency said.
âDue to the state of emergency in these affected areas, this would result in [in] a price control as well as a guarantee of the availability of goods and basic products, âadded the agency.
This declaration was made following certain reports of over-pricing in certain areas affected by Odette, such as in Cebu City.
In the same article, the DTI encouraged consumers to file complaints with them against any merchants they felt were selling overpriced products.
âWe advise consumers to coordinate their complaints with us through one of the following DTI channels: toll free number 1-384, [emailÂ protected], www.dti.gov.ph/konsyumer/complaints, âthe department said.
Price controls or price freezes are automatically imposed in areas placed in a state of disaster as provided for in Article 6 of the The law on prices.
“Unless earlier lifted by the President, the price controls on basic necessities under this section shall remain in effect for the duration of the state which caused it, but not more than sixty days. The terms âdisasterâ and âdisasterâ should include those caused by natural or man-made causes, whether local or foreign â, the provision noted.
Last 23 december, the DTI imposed a 60-day or two-month price freeze on all basic necessities in the following regions:
- Western Visayas
- Central visayas
- Eastern Visayas
- Northern Mindanao
In response to the victims, the Secretary of Commerce Ramon lopez said the agency will allocate 200 million pesos in the form of loans and grants to affected micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
âDTI will provide the necessary livelihood support as well as the SB (Small Business) Corp. microcredit program. Lopez said in a report from Philstar.com.
At the time of writing, Odette’s death toll went to 389, according to the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.
The NDRRMC also recorded 64 missing persons and 1,146 listed as injured.