Those caught hoarding basic goods, particularly highly in-demand items such as instant noodles and rubbing alcohol, face jail time or stiff fines of up to P2 million as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) heightened its watch against hoarders and panic-buyers in localities under community quarantine such as Bohol.
Bohol DTI director Maria Soledad Balistoy said the agency on Thursday issued the Anti-Hoarding and Anti-Panic Buying memorandum or Memorandum Circular No. 20-07.
The memo came a week after the new coronavirus threat and measures set by the government against it induced panic buying in retail outlets across the country.
The circular sets a limit on the number of items a consumer can purchase.
It limits each consumer to only purchase goods with quantities that would be sufficient to meet their needs for a week.
Balistoy said that the measure is meant to avoid the depletion of stocks due to hoarding, but she assured that the province has enough supplies of basic goods.
According to the DTI official, the quarantine measure set in the province and other areas including Metro Manila has not hampered the movement of goods in the archipelago and in particular into Bohol.
“Atong e-assure ang atong publiko na kitang tanan makapalit ug maka-avail pa sa unsa ang naa sa atong tindaihan Ang ato lang ani na wa yamoy hoarding na mahitabo,” she said.
Based on the DTI memorandum, the following are the products and their respective quantity limit per transaction:
- 70% solution antiseptic or disinfectant alcohol: two pieces regardless of volume
- Hand sanitizer: two pieces regardless of size
- Disinfecting liquids: two pieces regardless of size
- Bath soap: two pieces regardless of size
- Toilet paper: 10 pieces (if sold per roll) or 1 pack (if sold as pack)
- Face mask: five pieces N88 (surgical) any type or brand; five pieces N95 (industrial) any type or brand
- Locally produced instant noodles (mam, pancit canton): five pieces per type, per brand
- Locally produced canned sardines: five cans per type, per brand (regular size); three cans per type, per brand (big size)
- Canned regular milk: five cans per type, per brand (small); two cans per type, per brand (other than small)
- Powdered milk in sachet: two bundles per brand
- Instant coffee in sachet: two bundles per brand
- Mineral water: 10 bottles any brand (small), eight bottles any brand (medium), five bottles any brand (large), two bottles any brand (extra large)
- Loaf bread: four packs any kind, any brand (half loaf); two packs any kind, any brand (whole loaf)
Penalties for violating the policy, in accordance with the Price Act, consist of fines ranging from P5,000 to P2 million, and five to 15 years imprisonment.
“Without prejudice to the penalties prescribed under relevant ordinances issued by local government units, any person or entity found violating the provisions of this Circular shall, if circumstances warrant, be further charged with appropriate violations of the said laws such as Illegal Act of Price Manipulation, particularly hoarding, punishable under the Price Act with a fine ranging between P5,000.00 and P2,000,000.00 and imprisonment of not less than five years, but not more than 15 years,” the DTI said.
Meanwhile, retailers are directed to post notices in their establishments informing the public of the new policy. (A. Doydora)