DTI monitors price freeze in La Castellana

A team from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Negros Occidental, led by its provincial director Lynna Joy Cardinal, visited La Castellana town on June 7 to monitor the prices of prime commodities while the town is under a state of calamity due to the Kanlaon Volcano eruption on June 3. (Photo courtesy of SB Añejo Nicor Facebook)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has ensured that a price freeze on basic necessities is being implemented in La Castellana, Negros Occidental, as the local government remains under a state of calamity following the eruption of Kanlaon Volcano.

A team from DTI-Negros Occidental visited the town last Friday to check if stores and wet markets were complying with the 60-day price freeze.

DTI Provincial Director Lynna Joy Cardinal said the municipality is the most affected locality in the province due to the June 3 eruption.

Cardinal noted that pursuant to the Price Act of the Philippines, prime commodities in local government units (LGUs) under a state of calamity should be frozen.

“We’re monitoring their compliance, and so far there’s no problem with the price freeze in the town,” she said, adding that stores are already aware of it during calamities.

The basic necessities include, among others, canned sardines, tomato sauce, noodles, coffee, processed milk, bread, and bottled water, Cardinal said.

She noted that aside from monitoring the prices of these commodities, they also ensure that stores have enough supply.

Fortunately, she said, the stores in the town have an adequate supply, with at least a two-month buffer. The price freeze in the town will be in effect until August 3, she added.

The town was placed under a state of calamity on June 4, a day after the eruption of Kanlaon Volcano situated in the neighboring city of Canlaon in Negros Oriental.

Several residents in the town have been affected by the eruption, followed by the lahar or mudflow. Kanlaon Volcano remains under Alert Level 2, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Meanwhile, DTI-Negros Oriental reiterated to the people of Negros Oriental that the province remains under a 60-day price freeze after being placed under a state of calamity last April due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

This includes Canlaon City, which was also declared under a state of calamity in view of the eruption.

The DTI encourages consumers to report retailers selling basic necessities at prices higher than specified.

The Price Act provides that any retailers found selling more than the listed prevailing prices shall face an administrative fine of up to P1,000,000, and/or a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

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