Price freeze up in areas ravaged by ‘Pablo’

Rappler.com
The Department of Trade and Industry imposes a cap on prices of basic goods in these areas to help thousands of families displaced by the strongest typhoon that hit the Philippines so far this year

PRICE FREEZE. Traders are ordered to keep prices at prevailing levels in the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo (Bopha). Photo from AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Businessmen thinking of taking advantage of the possible shortage in supply of commodities in areas hard-hit by Typhoon Pablo, beware.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ordered on Thursday, December 6, that prices of basic goods be kept at prevailing levels in these areas to help thousands of families displaced by the strongest typhoon that hit the Philippines so far this year.

A Philstar.com report quoted DTI Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya as saying that a price freeze has been implemented in areas under state of calamity.

These include, among others, Compostella Valley, Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur.

Although initial reports indicated that prices have been stable in the provinces, another DTI official, Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection head Victorio Mario Dimagiba, said the agency instructed its personnel to monitor price movements, a GMA Network report said on the other hand.

The DTI also asked supermarkets and distributors to set up bulk purchasing lanes for groups and individuals that want to buy relief goods that will be donated to the affected families.

It is a practice of DTI to implement these measures whenever destructive typhoons and other calamities hit the country. These measures aim to protect the public from unscrupulous business owners who jack up prices of their goods during a supply shortage to earn huge profits.

Anyone who violates a price freeze order may be sentenced to a maximum jail time of 10 years, and fined up to P1 million.

The DTI also imposed price controls in the previous months when successive typhoons and non-stop rain battered Luzon.

Pablo is the 16th typhoon that entered the Philippines in 2012, and so far the strongest, according to weather bureau officials.

It ravaged mostly provinces in Visayas and Mindanao, killing 325 people and leaving hundreds injured and missing.

A total of 48,317 families, consisting of over 200,000 individuals were affected by the typhoon. Over 170,000 of them are now housed in evacuation centers. The figures were reported by the national disaster council in its 11 a.m. update.

Pablo has significantly weakened on Thursday, and is now only classified as a tropical storm. It is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Friday, December 7. – Rappler.com

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