MANILA, Philippines – Don’t add to the problems now facing communities in calamity areas.
On Tuesday, November 12, a day after President Benigno Aquino III declared a state of national calamity, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will monitor prices to ensure vendors stick with the imposed price freeze. Cops will go after those who will violate it, the PNP said.
PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima ordered regional directors – especially those in areas most affected by Yolanda – to implement the price freeze along with local government units (LGUs) and the local Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) units.
In a statement, the PNP said the execution of the price freeze “is key in preserving peace and order amidst the current calamity as it promises to lessen potential criminal incidents.” The price freeze is expected to be in place for 60 days.
In recent days since Yolanda battered central Philippines on Friday, November 8, reports of widespread looting by desperate survivors, particularly in Tacloban City, Leyte, raised government concerns.
The police deployed over 800 personnel to affected areas to restore law and order, while the military sent hundreds of soldiers to help.
PNP spokesperson Theodore Sindac said that RA 7581 or The Price Act says those guilty of violating a prize freeze order may face up to ten years in prison, or fined anywhere between P5,000 to P1 million.
The same Act reads that “prices of basic necessities in an area shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control whenever that area is proclaimed or declared a disaster area or under a state of calamity.”
Basic necessities include food like rice, corn, bread, fish, meat, eggs, milk, vegetable, root crops, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, salt, and other materials like laundry soap, firewood, charcoal, candles and medicines.
When Aquino declared a state of national calamity, he said the declaration was “important so that we can ensure control over the prices of the basic commodities and services that our countrymen will need — to avoid overpricing and hoarding of vital products.”
On Friday, one of the world’s strongest ever-recorded typhoons made landfall in the Philippines. Packing maximum sustained winds of 315 km (195 miles) an hour, it broke down houses and took hundreds of lives. (READ: ‘10,000’ feared dead in Leyte – police)
Dead bodies lined the streets made impassable by fallen trees and rubble, as the national government scrambled to provide aid to desperate survivors and local governments rendered helpless by the massive damage brought by the storm.
Officials continue to count the number of deaths, but the lack of communications and blocked roads have made the surveying difficult. – Rappler.com
Get the latest info on the status of areas (http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/disasters/typhoon-yolanda/43350-aftermath-yolanda-what-we-know) affected by typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).
Help the victims of Yolanda. Visit Rappler’s list of ongoing relief operations (http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/disasters/43300-reliefph-victims-typhoon-yolanda-help) in your area. Tell us about your relief and recovery initiatives, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @moveph.
Visit rappler.com/typhoon-yolanda (http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/disasters/typhoon-yolanda) for the latest updates on Typhoon Yolanda.
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