The price freeze started last Monday in the provinces of Aurora, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga.
“Under a state of calamity, an automatic price control is implemented as a preventive measure against overpricing of goods such as processed milk, canned goods, coffee, laundry soap, detergent, candles, bread, and salt during times of calamities,” DTI Regional Director Judith Angeles said.
She said that the price freeze does not cover agricultural products. Those coveredby the freeze should remain at levels prior to the issuance of the state of national calamity by Pres. Aquino.
“Upon declaration of state calamity, price control can be implemented for the duration of 60 days unless lifted sooner by either the local sanggunian or by the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” Angeles added. But Angeles noted that local governments and provincial DTI offices can adjust prices to reflect additional operational costs or the costs of bringing the products to the market. This, however, would still need the approval of either the National Price Coordinating Council or the President.
Angeles warned that the penalty for profiteering in price freeze areas could amount to P1 million penalty or imprisonment of one to five years or both.
If the case is hoarding, violators can face up to P2 million penalty or imprisonment of five to 15 years or both, she added.