The Department of Trade and Industry affirms that Western Visayas has enough basic food supply. Moreover, basic food necessities in major trading areas abide by the suggested retail prices (SRP) following the price freeze imposed by the government based on the monitoring conducted by the provincial offices of the Department of Trade and Industry in Western Visayas.
The agency has intensified the monitoring of the available supply of basic goods in the market. These necessities include canned fish, processed milk, coffee, laundry soap, detergent, candles, loaf bread, salt, potable water in bottles and containers, and noodles, among others. Though there are some local government units outside major trading areas selling necessities beyond the SRP, these are ‘reasonable’ increases considering additional costs like transportation, delivery, fuel and other factors in bringing in the goods.
“In so far as our monitoring is concerned, we are experiencing a shortage of disposable face masks and a limited supply of alcohol. Disposable face masks have been scarce since the eruption of Taal Volcano in January,” states the Department of Trade and Industry VI Regional Director Rebecca M. Rascon. The DTI also monitors the availability and market prices of alcohol, face masks and other essential medical supplies as classified by the Department of Health (DoH), vis-à-vis the SRP established by the Department of Health.
It can be recalled that, as of March 11, the agency warned of filing of criminal charges on overpricing and hoarding of medical devices and products like alcohol, medicines, masks of N-88, N-95, similar face masks, alcohol/sanitizers, and medical devices – following nationwide price freeze was recently implemented due to Proclamation No. 922 that put the country under the State of Public Health Emergency caused by the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (Covid-19).
So far, the agency has received several reports of stores and unscrupulous online sellers selling overpriced alcohol and face masks. Information received by this office is being verified by the concerned DTI Provincial Offices.
Based on the SRP issued by the DoH, the price of disposable face masks ranges from P3 to P12; while the price of ethyl alcohol 70% solution ranges from P17.25 to P25.50 for 60ml, P36.75 to 41.75 for 250ml, and P61 to P74.25 for 500ml.
“We encourage everyone to report those selling beyond the SRP,” she said. Under the Price Act, a seller who commits any act of illegal price manipulation or violations of Sec.6 of RA 7581 shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of up to P 2,000,000.00. Online stores and sellers caught overpricing shall be reported to the DTI. These sellers will be submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation for assistance in tracking down and eventually catching them for an appropriate penalty.
For complaints, complainants must provide their full name with email and contact numbers (for feedback purposes), provide the name and location of the store, name of owner/seller, name of item and price.