Traders and businesses unreasonably jacking up prices of basic goods and construction materials in areas devastated by Typhoon Odette will be held accountable, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte warned Monday.
“I am just giving you the warning na ‘pag nahuli kayo ng DTI or nahuli kayo ng pulis — ang pulis because the jurisdiction dito sa putting a cap on the prices of goods belongs to — and even building materials, nasa sa iyo,” President Duterte said in his televised weekly Talk to the People.
“So nandito ka man, tell us if there has been a violation or violations during this time because we can identify them and the Philippine National Police, we will ask them to arrest the hoarders and people who are taking advantage of the situation,” President Duterte said after hearing the report of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Lopez told the President that there is an existing price freeze in areas hit by the typhoon, insisting that the prices of commodities prior to the pandemic and the typhoon should remain the same.
“The day after, and I think mga hanggang two days after, habang nagkakagulo pa rin, marami ho talagang na-report na nag-price increase, na nagsamantala,” Lopez said.
“In fact, ang order ko po sa ating mga kasama na ‘yung mga enforcers natin ay talagang mag-aresto ng overpricing.”
Lopez also said that many profiteers were apprehended in Bohol and Cebu, and they also received reports that some traders raised the price of power generator sets.
Consequently, all the reported profiteers were immediately referred to the authorities, the trade chief said.
“Base sa mga ni-report sa atin, mga 50 na explanation letters, 50 na inquiry letters, at iyong kasunod noon ay kaso pagka ito po ay hindi talaga sa atin in-explain ‘yung pagtaas nung presyo na ‘yun,” he pointed out.
“But after po na-apprehend sila, actually ho, Mr. President, kino-correct ho nila ‘no. So tayo ho talaga nakatutok doon sa mga nabalitaan natin na mayroong mga pag-increase ng presyo,”
There were also reported increases in fuel prices in several areas, with some doubling or tripling the price to between P120 to P180 per liter, according to Lopez.
But after the traders were reprimanded, Lopez said the fuel price in Maasin City; Macrohon, Southern Leyte; and even in the Caraga region now ranges below P56 to P50 per liter.
“Ibig sabihin, ito ho ay after nagkaroon tayo nang pagsupil doon sa mga nag-violate ng mga presyo,” he said. PND