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PIA Press Release

Pangasinan stores abide by price control law, says DTI

By Danny O Sagun

Dagupan City (8 October) -- Price monitoring in Pangasinan showed that supermarkets, groceries and stores are complying with the mandated price control on basic commodities during this time of calamity, the provincial head of the Department of Trade and Industry said Thursday in a media forum.

Provincial Director Peter Mangabat said that he immediately met with the business owners to inform them about the imposition of automatic price control on basic necessities and prime commodities after the President placed the country under a state of calamity as typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng wrought havoc to Metro Manila and nearby areas and Northern Luzon.

Republic Act 7851, or the Price Act of 1992, mandates automatic price control on basic needs like rice, corn, bread, fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products, meat, coffee, sugar, soap and cooking oil, and prime commodities that include fresh fruits, flour, school supplies, construction materials, batteries and electrical supplies.

Mangabat said that so far he and his men in the province did not encounter any problem or even threats as they conducted monitoring and enforcement of the price law unlike their counterparts in Metro Manila. "Part na ng trabaho yang pananakot, pero wala pa naman dito sa atin," he said during the KBP Forum at the Philippine Information Agency office.

Only one contentious issue cropped up during the dialog Wednesday between DTI officials and business owners or representatives. While government imposed P109 as the price for a 10 mm steel bar here in the province, the prevailing price before the calamity was P115. In Tarlac, which is nearer Manila, the price was pegged at P111. The law stipulates that the prevailing price would be adopted when a national calamity is declared, he explained.

The problem is not only confined here but also in other provinces. He said the DTI head office was already informed of the issue.

Price control for such basic and prime goods only take effect when a national state of calamity is declared, he clarified. "Hindi yan automatic pag ang isang lugar like Pangasinan ay nag-declare ng state of calamity," he said.

Unless sooner lifted by the President, automatic price control remains effective for the duration of the calamity but not more than 60 days, according to the law.

Mangabat also asked the businessmen to comply with the price tag law.

Violations like hoarding, profiteering and price manipulation thru a cartel merit penalties as imprisonment of five to 15 years and fine of P5,000 to P2 million. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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