News - 03042020_NWS_SRML

QUEZON CITY – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez told manufacturers, retailers, and distributors of improved implementation of policies and coordination with law enforcers at checkpoints after recognizing the challenges of cargo trucks carrying essential food and non-food materials reportedly being barred at checkpoints due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.

“We can expect order and normalization in the movement of cargo this week,” Sec. Lopez told reporters during his market monitoring at Unimart Supermarket Greenhills on March 23, 2020.

“While there were initial difficulties during the first two or three days of implementation, improvements have been reported since Friday of last week. The situations have eased up at checkpoints and we have been hearing more positive feedback on the movement of cargoes,” he added.

This comes after the release of DTI Memorandum Circular No. 20-08 last March 20, 2020, which guarantees the unhampered movement of all cargoes and transit of personnel of business establishments allowed to operate during the quarantine period.

While the MC ensures the smooth and unimpeded movement of all cargoes in the Luzon area, when stopped at any checkpoint for random inspection, the cargo manifest or delivery receipt indicating the destination, nature, and quantity of the loaded goods/cargoes must be presented to avoid delays.

DTI is advising all local government units to strictly comply with the guidelines set by the national government.

“The unhampered movement of cargo is a national policy and a directive of President Duterte,” said Sec. Lopez.

“Secretary Eduardo Año released a supplemental memorandum and is continuously coordinating with the IATF to ensure proper implementation of this policy,” he added.

“We have also talked with BOC to prioritize the processing of basic necessities, especially medical supplies and food,” he said.

Furthermore, the Trade Secretary is confident that there is enough inventory of food, alcohol, and disinfectants in supermarkets.

“There is no need to panic buy. We have already talked with the manufacturers and cleared up issues. The movement of cargoes has been addressed so there shouldn’t be any problem with production and shortage,” said Sec. Lopez.

He also advised consumers to be wary of fake news circulating and mindful of the prices of goods.

The DTI Consumer Protection Group is closely monitoring the price freeze on basic commodities. Any person or entity found violating the Price Act will be fined between P5,000 and P2 million and face imprisonment between five and 15 years.

Consumers are enjoined to report business establishments that sell beyond the price freeze by calling hotline 1384 or 1-DTI. ♦

Date of Release: 24 March 2020