MANILA, Philippines – Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has warned businesses taking advantage of consumers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic that she would move to have their business permits revoked.
Garcia said this in a press conference on Monday, March 16, after she met with the Cebu Provincial Price Monitoring Council, where she cited reports that prices of goods such as rice had surged in places like Carcar City and Barili town.
“If there is any report at all nga nag-overprice sila, then ako na mismo ang mo-recommend for the revocation of their license sa NFA (If there is any report at all that they increased their prices, then I will personally be the one to recommend to the National Food Authority to revoke their license),” she said.
She asked the NFA to refuse accredited dealers’ weekly requests to raise their prices. She would issue an executive order requiring businesses to strictly follow the price ceiling imposed by the price monitoring council.
The governor called on mayors to report any price hikes spotted in their jurisdiction.
Garcia said that Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino also suggested that the names of errant establishments be published and sent to the media.
She assured her constituents that Cebu has enough rice supplies for 3 months, according to the NFA, and that the supplies can be augmented as Cebu’s ports will continue operations despite their closure to accept incoming cargo.
Purchasing test kits
Garcia also said they are looking into getting more coronavirus testing kits on top of the supply the Department of Health (DOH) promised to provide. The provincial government will use its calamity funds for this purpose.
“The province itself is trying to source if there are any available, as long as they are FDA-approved,” she said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
The DOH had promised on March 11 that testing kits developed by scientists from the University of the Philippines Manila would be sent to regional testing centers by March 16.
“They have identified Vincente Sotto (Memorial Medical Center) as a regional testing center, but as of now, kutob ra (it’s only a center) by name but not really an actual operation. We hope that they could already send,’’ she said.
The Cebu Provincial Board passed a resolution asking the Provincial Price Monitoring Council to keep a close watch over prices of basic commodities in the province.
It also passed an ordinance adopting the protocols on the province’s preemptive measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Anyone caught in violation of the provisions will face a year in prison or a P5,000 penalty. – Rappler.com