Businessmen violating the price freeze of basic commodities imposed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bohol Provincial Office will be dealt with accordingly as provided for by Republic Act (RA) 7581 known as the Price Act.
With the declaration of Bohol in a “state of calamity” due to the intense heat brought by the El Nino phenomenon, DTI Bohol ordered the freezing of prices of several basic necessities such as canned sardines, milk, coffee, laundry soap, instant noodles and bottled water.
According to Joe Hibaya, DTI Bohol Consumer Division Chief, the automatic-price-freeze order pegs prices for canned sardines P12.00 from the cheapest family budget pack to P13.50 for the (Young Town Bonus), P53.00 (Alaska sweetened) up to P65.86 (Milkmaid Full Cream), evaporated milk P38.20 to P52.50 while powdered milk shall observe a price range from P47.00 (Alaska) to P57.00 for Birch Tree Full Cream Milk.
Instant Noodles shall be sold from P6.30 (Payless) to P7.10 (Lucky Me) and the price range for coffee will start at P17.50 (Blend 45) for 25 grams to P20.60 Nescafe Classic 75 grams, P35 Blend 45 and P40.50 for those weighing 50 grams.
Prices of bottled water should range from P8.00 for a 330 ml Hidden Spring mineral water and P11.00 for Wilkins Purified while laundry soap bars from P18.00 for the Speed bar brand and P19.50 for Surf.
According to the Price Act, prices of basic necessities shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control in areas declared under a state of calamity.
Price control orders shall remain effective for not more than sixty days unless sooner lifted, according to the DTI.
Any person found violating the price ceiling shall be penalized with imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than ten years and a fine of P5,000 but not more than P1 million or both, at the discretion of the court. (Chito M. Visarra with reports from Allen Doydora)