December 7, 2023

In relation to the state of emergency within the country wrought by the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Department of Trade and industry and members of the Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC) continue to monitor the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities to ensure there would be no price manipulation.
DTI-Cordillera Asst. Director Juliet Lucas said Thursday skeleton workforces of the DTI together with the departments of Health, Agriculture, Environment, and other LPCC members are conducting physical and online monitoring on the level of supply and prevailing prices in the different provinces to ensure stable supply of these goods and compliance to Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act.
The agencies are tasked to implement the automatic price control provided in the Price Act that penalizes price manipulation, which refers to hoarding, profiteering, and cartel.
It covers basic necessities where price control/freeze is imposed and prime commodities which are imposed with price ceiling or suggested retail prices.
Violators of price control are subject to five days to 15 years imprisonment and P5,000 to P2 million fine and price ceiling violators are fined from P5,000 to P1M.
While the enhanced community quarantine is in effect in Luzon, Lucas said certain establishments have to be open and movement of cargo within and to and from Luzon shall be unhampered.
Establishments that must remain open are those related to food and medicine; markets, stores, hospitals, clinics, drug stores, water refilling stations, manufacturing, and processing plants of basic food products and medicines, banks, money transfer services and power, energy, water, and telecommunication companies.
Business process outsourcing and export-oriented industries shall also remain operational subject to the observation of social distancing measures with skeleton workforce as provided under the memorandum circular on social distancing for retail and non-retail establishments.
Based on their monitoring, some establishments in the region have at least one month supply, most have enough for two to three weeks, which is the usual capacity of their warehouses. Their trucks have already been dispatched for refilling.
Lucas said issues with regards to checkpoints, which briefly became a concern, have been resolved, so they expect that the supply will be unhampered.
A contingency plan, if worse comes to worst, is also in place in coordination with the Office of Civil Defense-Cordillera. – Hanna C. Lacsamana