Saturday, 11 April 2020 08:03

City gov’t reminds retailers, supermarkets on price freeze for basic commodities amid COVID-19

Written by Stephen Pedroza

The city government of Cagayan de Oro has reminded the local retailers and supermarkets that there should be no price movement on basic commodities while the nationwide price freeze is in effect.


“We have observed that in various areas of CDO, some retailers are imposing their own prices on basic goods,” said City Economic Cluster representative Paul Douglas Calingin in a press conference on Saturday, April 11.


Calingin said that the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and City Economic Enterprise Department (CEED) are currently consolidating a comprehensive list of suggested retail prices for basic commodities.


“We hope to come up with the final figures for the basic commodities that we can present to the public on Tuesday (April 14),” Calingin said.


This localized list of prices of basic goods will serve as a guide for the retailers in public markets (particularly in Cogon, Carmen, and Puerto markets), supermarkets (e.g. malls), and even for informal or online stores.


Under the Joint Memorandum Circular of the DA, DTI, and the Department of Health (DOH), the price freeze covers all persons, including those who sell through the internet or other media.


Basic goods under the DTI jurisdiction include canned fish and other marine products, locally-manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, and laundry soap, detergent, and salt. The DA covers basic goods such as rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh, dried and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, sugar, and fresh fruits. Essential drugs are under the DOH.


Pursuant to Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, the price freeze on basic commodities took effect on March 9 and will end on May 9. The implementing agencies can also recommend a price ceiling for basic commodities “should the existence or effects of COVID-19 continue to persist beyond the 60-day period.”


The city government, at the start of the imposition of the community quarantine, cautioned all local establishments not to take advantage of the global pandemic to jack up the prices of basic necessities.


Calingin assured the consuming public that they have intensified their monitoring measures on the prices of basic commodities in the city with the help of community leaders and police personnel.


Consumers are encouraged to report any concern related to overpricing, profiteering, and questions on the suggested retail prices of basic necessities.


Any person or entity found violating the Price Act will be fined between Php5,000 and Php2M, and face imprisonment between five and 15 years.