The Department of Industry (DTI) will file charges against 12 business establishments allegedly found to be selling overpriced goods in violation of the price freeze order implemented in the province in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.
DTI Bohol consumer protection division chief Joe Hibaya said the 12 commercial establishments will be charged with profiteering for violating Section 6 of Republic Act 7581, otherwise known as the Price Act.
He said eight of the alleged violators are retailers of basic goods such as groceries while the four others sell construction supplies, which are considered as prime commodities.
“Eight ang nagtinda og basic necessities unya ang kaning upat gitan-aw pa namo ang gibug-aton sa ebidensya sanglit ilang gibaligya construction materials, like for example GI [galvanized iron] sheets na maoy kasagaran complaint sa mga taw karon. So among ipahibaw na nia tay gihomong mga lakang aron mapatuman jud ni namo ning saktong presyo,” said Hibaya.
Hibaya refused to name the establishments pending the filing of charges but noted that these are spread across Bohol’s three districts.
According to Hibaya, the grocery retailers sold products at prices “10 to 50” percent higher than the suggested retail price.
Meanwhile, the retailers of construction materials allegedly sold items that did not fit the dimensions indicated in the receipts.
“Ang profiteering ma commit pud kung ang us aka produkto na ilang gibaligya dili haum sa ilang timbang ug measurement,” said Hibaya.
He noted that construction supply retailers should also make us of the metric system as the only measurement system for all products and other commercial transactions in accordance with the national and international standards.
Prior to the filing of charges, the alleged violators were told to explain why they should not be held liable for allegedly not complying with the price freeze order while the DTI conducted monitoring and verification of the allegations against the stores.
Hibaya said the actions taken by the DTI against the violators prove that the agency has been doing its job.
The official lamented that they have been drawing flak from the public for allegedly not doing their job in keeping prices of basic goods at a reasonable levels during the post-typhoon crisis.
“Pagpahibaw ni sa katawhan na wala mi mangatog kay kasagaran raba makita sa Facebook karon nangatog kuno mi sa among buhatan ug wa kuno miya gipanghimo pero dili fair sa among side na pasanginglan ra na way gihimong lakang aning mga problema ron sa katawahan,” Hibaya said.
He explained that the DTI conducts thorough investigations and monitoring before filing charges against violators.
“Importante gyud ang monitoring sa atong mga field officers because we don’t want to charge kung dili gyud klaro ang reports unya kaning mga gipanghatag na reports, gi-validate pud ni namo, dili mi diretso-diretso na e-consider namo to file formal charges. Gi-validate namo ni, gi hatagan namo sila og time to explain,” he added. (A. Doydora)