BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution requesting the Cordillera office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-CAR) and other government agencies to strictly monitor alleged unjust or unnecessary price increases of basic commodities during the prevalence of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 global pandemic.
Further, the council, in the aforesaid resolution, urged the concerned agencies to deploy monitoring teams to check the compliance of all establishments to the declared price freeze and suggested retail price policies of supermarkets and sari-sari stores.
City legislators stated the public must be protected from abusive and enterprising people during these trying times, thus, concerned government agencies must ensure that prices of basic commodities remain affordable, especially now that the income of most the people had been cut.
The council admitted the city government received numerous reports of some retailers and sellers who have allegedly unreasonably increased the prices of food products such as rice, canned goods and health items, amidst the COVID outbreak.
By virtue of the declaration of the country under a state of public health emergency and Section 6(1) of Republic Act (RA) 7581 otherwise known as the Price Act, as amended by RA 10623, provides that prices of basic necessities in an area shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control.
Moreover, the council claimed that price control of basic necessities shall remain effective for the duration of the prevailing condition that brought it about but not for more than 60 days.
According to the city legislative body, the National Price Coordinating Council composed of DTI, the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had been mandated to ensure that prices of basic necessities shall be automatically frozen at their prevailing prices whenever an area is declared under state of calamity like what happened to the whole country.
Earlier, the city government reactivated the city’s Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC) that had been making surprise inspections to the different essential business establishments operating during the previous enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and finding some drug stores and other groceries with unnecessarily increased the prices of basic commodities, including face masks and alcohol products.
The identified erring establishments were subsequently issued notices of violation by the concerned government agencies and are required to submit their justifications on overpricing face masks and alcohol for evaluation and assessment before judgement will be rendered on whether or not the owners will be meted the appropriate penalties.
by Dexter A. See