The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 1 thru its Provincial Offices, intensified the monitoring of prices and supplies of basic necessities at various grocery stores and supermarkets in the region. This is to prevent over pricing and hoarding of basic goods. Following the declaration of a state of calamity in the country due to the pandemic corona virus (Covid-19), Price Freeze on basic necessities is in effect.

Results of the latest monitoring showed that supplies of basic necessities are still sufficient and available in major supermarkets and grocery stores in the region. Prices are also still within the frozen prevailing price.

DTI has also issued MC No. 20-07 on Anti-Hoarding and Anti-Panic Buying which sets the reasonable limit in the sale of all basic necessities and some products intended for the protection of health such as, but not limited to, surgical and industrial masks, medical devices, alcohol, hand sanitizers and other disinfectants. To properly inform the public, retailers were required to post notices in conspicuous places within their stores informing the consumers of the quantity of basic goods that they are allowed to purchase.

DTI has been working directly with the various industry sectors to assure the continued supply and stable prices of basic necessities and prime commodities. The movement of goods and supplies will also remain unhampered.

Meanwhile, the Local Price Coordinating Councils in the different cities and municipalities in region 1 are now fully mobilized and operational to help in the monitoring.

Photo of DTI-Region 1 employee inspecting the price of canned goods at a grocery store as part of the Department's price monitoring of Basic Necessities and Prime Commodities (BNPCs)

DTI has also intensified its consumer protection measures by coordinating with the law enforcement agencies, local Philippine National Police (PNP), Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in gathering pieces of evidence against persons selling overpriced items online.

The NBI-Dagupan District Office in coordination with the DTI Pangasinan Provincial Office, arrested three (3) individuals last March 23, 2020 through a buy-bust operation in Dagupan City. The suspects were selling alcohol at 300 percent more than its suggested retail price (SRP). Two boxes of 250ml alcohol, to be sold at P16,000.00, were confiscated from the arrested online sellers.

A separate operation conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Laoag City has also resulted to the arrest of an online seller selling overpriced alcohol. All the suspects will be facing charges for violating Republic Act (RA) 7581, or the Price Act, as well as RA 9711, the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.♦

Date of Release: 24 March 2020