MARAWI CITY, (PIA) — The Ministry of Trade, Investments and Tourism (MTIT) of the Bangsamoro Government formed a special price monitoring team to closely monitor the prices of all basic goods and other essential medical supplies in the Bangsamoro region amidst the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
MTIT Minister Abuamri Taddik said their office has created a special team for weekly price monitoring, instead of monthly, in the areas of Bangsamoro region after the Presidential Declaration No. 922—declaring public health emergency throughout the Philippines—was signed on March 8, 2020.
“In order to relay the message, MTIT has already coordinated with radio stations and posted tarpaulins of guidelines for business owners. Also, there is constant coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs), Philippine National Police (PNP), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),” Minister Taddik said.
He further said the price freeze on all agricultural and manufactured basic goods, essential medicines, and other medical supplies was imposed according to the national order of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-01 issued on 18 March 2020 under Section 6 of the Price Act (Republic Act No. 7581), as amended by RA 10623.
RA 10623 states that whenever there is a declaration of a state of emergency, calamity, or other similar conditions, prices of basic necessities shall be frozen at their prevailing prices for sixty (60) days or until sooner lifted by the President.
The MTIT has also issued a memorandum order for all of its provincial offices and directors to inform the public of the Anti-Hoarding and Anti Panic Buying under DTI’s Memorandum Circular No. 20-07.
This order shall set a reasonable limit in selling all basic necessities and some medical supplies intended for health protection.
However, the price of agricultural products in BARMM is set by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR-BARMM). The price will still depend on the price ceiling recommended by the Local Price Coordination Council (LPCC).
“Mayroong iilan na nagtaas ng bigas, pero ibinigay na namin ang limitation nila [sa presyo]. Ibig sabihin, controlled pa rin ng MTIT ang lahat ng price,” he added.
“Currently, the trading situation in BARMM is stable and there’s no unreasonable price increase detected,” Taddik added.
Meanwhile, the Minister warned the business owners not to violate the law. He said violators of the price freeze could face penalties ranging between Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) and Two Million Pesos(P2,000,000.00) and imprisonment of not less than five (5) years up to 15 years. Their business permit/license could be confiscated and business operation could be ceased. (BPI/PIA ICIC)