MAKATI CITY — On Friday, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual reminded business establishments to comply with the price freeze for basic necessities (BN), following the heavy rains, strong winds, and damages to properties caused by the Typhoon Egay (Doksuri) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Regions 1, 2, and 3.

Under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, as amended by RA 10623, prices of basic necessities (BN) are automatically frozen at their prevailing prices for sixty (60) days once a state of calamity (SOC) is declared in an area.

The severe effects of the Typhoon Egay prompted the declaration of in the following areas:

CARMountain Province
1Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Sur
Dagupan City, Pangasinan
2Sanchez Mira, Cagayan
4BSablayan, Occidental Mindoro

The price freeze shall be automatically terminated after 60 days unless sooner lifted by the President. “We are currently in close coordination with our Regional and Provincial Offices within the affected areas to monitor the situation of our kababayans and to ensure the stability of prices and availability of supply of products under our jurisdiction. We also activated our monitoring teams to check if establishments are complying with the price freeze. We at DTI will take immediate action against those who will be caught doing unfair and unjust sales practices,” DTI Secretary Pascual said in a message.

The DTI monitors products under its jurisdiction such as canned fish, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent, and salt.

Based on the latest situational report from the DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) this Friday, within CAR, most business establishments are open and operational. The supply of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) are likewise good for 1-3 weeks, except for stores in Bangued, Abra that reported stocks good for 4-6 weeks.

In Region 1, supplies of BNPCs are also stable and sufficient, buffer stocks can last up to 1-2 months, according to the DTI monitoring team. Major supermarkets are likewise compliant with the prevailing suggested retail price (SRP) for BNPCs.

Meanwhile, the monitoring team observed a slight increase in the prices of agricultural products in Region 2, specifically within Cagayan due to the effects of the Typhoon Egay. Prices and supplies of BNPCs, on the other hand, remain stable according to the monitoring team. However,

it was reported that several business establishments within coastal areas were temporarily closed.

Further, in Region 3, the DTI monitoring team reported stable prices and supplies of BNPCs, the deliveries are likewise ongoing, ensuring that stocks will remain sufficient for the entire population. Most supermarkets and public markets are also operational and no damages have been reported so far.

Overall, the monitoring team also reported that there is no hoarding, overpricing, or panic buying recorded as of date.

“The DTI is actively coordinating with the manufacturers of basic and prime goods. We also sought the assistance of the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers, Inc. to remind their member companies to ensure the availability and sufficiency of BNPCs in typhoon-affected areas,” added DTI Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary, Atty. Ruth B. Castelo.

Likewise, DTI Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau Director, Atty. M. Marcus Valdez II underscored, “The DTI continuously coordinates with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Secretariat on the declarations of the State of Calamity to ensure the stability of prices and the availability of supply.”

Based on the Price Act, business establishments found to have violated the price freeze will face a penalty of imprisonment for a period of one (1) year to ten (10) years, or a fine ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP1,000,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.

Consumers are enjoined to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities above their prevailing prices via One-DTI (1-384) hotline or email ♦

Date of release: 28 July 2023