Muntinlupa store caught violating price freeze

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MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has reminded stores within areas where a state of calamity has been declared to observe the price freeze after a store in Muntinlupa City was caught violating the Price Act.

In a statement, the DTI said that during an inspection, the Maxi-K Store at the city’s public market was found to be selling coffee and powdered milk 65 centavos to P4.10 higher than government-set prices.

A show cause order will be issued to the store owner who will be asked to explain why the store was not observing the price freeze, it added.

“Muntinlupa City is under a state of calamity and therefore, the 60-day price freeze is automatically in effect in [the] area. As such, prices of basic necessities in the city must be frozen at their prevailing prices and should not exceed the suggested retail prices,” Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba said.

Several areas were declared to be in a state of calamity after Typhoon Glenda swept through the country two weeks ago. These included Muntinlupa City; Obando in Bulacan; and the provinces of Bataan, Laguna, Cavite, Quezon, Albay and Camarines Sur.

The price freeze, which will remain in effect for 60 days, covers basic necessities such as canned fish and other canned marine products, evaporated milk, condensed milk, powdered milk, coffee, laundry bar and detergent, instant noodles, bread, salt, candles, bottled water, rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh and dried fish and other marine products, fresh eggs, pork, beef, poultry, fresh milk, fresh vegetables and fruits, root crops and sugar.

Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene are also covered by the price freeze but for just 15 days, not 60 days.

Section 6 of Republic Act No. 7581, or the Price Act, provides that when an area is declared a disaster zone or under a state of calamity, the prices of basic necessities shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control.

Violators of the price freeze may be slapped an administrative fine of up to P1 million in addition to a maximum 10-year jail term.

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