Two weeks after the issuance of Proclamation No. 216, “Declaring a State of Martial Law and Suspending the Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Whole of Mindanao” that led to the implementation of automatic price control or price freeze on basic necessities, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Regional and Provincial Offices reported that supplies and prices of basic necessities and prime commodities are generally sufficient and stable.

“We are in constant coordination with our regional and provincial offices to ensure that Price Freeze is implemented in Mindanao. The Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCC) have been reactivated to safeguard the consumers’ interest from unscrupulous retailers“, DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Teodoro C. Pascua says.

The DTI provincial offices, in collaboration with their respective LPCCs in Mindanao, intensified its monitoring activities to guarantee the consumers that business establishments in their areas adhere to the price freeze and to make sure that supply of basic necessities and prime commodities are sufficient.

Based on their monitoring reports, supply and prices of basic necessities and prime commodities including LPG and kerosene in Mindanao are generally adequate and stable. Likewise, prices of agricultural products also remained at normal levels except for Bangus and Tilapia in Iligan City.

However, DTI also reported that prices of kerosene increased by Php 0.18 – Php 0.65 per liter in Iligan City. It said that it has already reported the said price increase to the Department of Energy- Davao Field Office for their information and appropriate action.

The DTI further reported that business establishments are operating normally and no circumstances of panic buying were observed due to the ample supply of basic and prime goods. According to their monitoring activities, the peak hours in wet markets in Iligan City were observed from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM. However, the business establishments in the area recorded a decline in sales due to low demand and absence of regular customers who are residents of Marawi City.

DTI-CPG Undersecretary Pascua conveys, “Together with DTI Secretary Ramon S. Lopez, we recently conducted inspections of food warehouses of Nestle Philippines, Inc. and Century Properties Group, Inc. in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities and we saw that there are enough supply of their products for the consumers. The Department received these companies’ strong assurance that they will ensure ample supply in Mindanao.”

“We will continue our close coordination with manufacturers of basic necessities and prime commodities to ensure the availability of stocks in Mindanao at any given time”, CPG Undersecretary Pascua adds.

The DTI commits to continue its intensified monitoring activities in the areas affected by the declaration of Martial Law. Similarly, the LPCCs assure the public that retail establishments will be monitored regularly in order to check those selling above the prevailing prices.

As stated in the Price Act, as amended, penalties for violation against the price freeze include at least the imposition of fine of Php 5,000.00 up to Php 1,000,000.00 and/or imprisonment of one (1) year up to 10 years.

To report retailers selling goods above the prevailing prices, visit the nearest DTI office.