COTABATO CITY – Price monitoring teams from the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Tourism – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MTIT-BARMM) have been deployed to ensure fair consumer prices of goods, particularly food, during Ramadan.
This was after the MTIT-BARMM urged the regional business sector on Saturday to be socially responsible in implementing fair pricing, especially during this difficult time of the pandemic while observing the fasting month.
“As we face the challenges brought about by the pandemic, we call upon the business sectors to help our local businesses and services to remain viable in terms of maintaining their reasonable and fair pricing of basic goods,” MTIT-BARMM Minister Abuamri Taddik said in a statement.
Taddik said the fielding of price monitoring teams intends to suppress the usual abuse of some local businessmen who take advantage of important occasions to increase their basic commodity prices, including this month of Ramadan.
“This call for reasonable and fair pricing is guided by the Islamic principles of justice and compassion and the symbiosis between consumers and producers that may help keep the wheels of our economy turning,” he said.
As an urgent response, the MTIT Lanao del Sur (LDS) team began on Saturday its price inspection of public markets in Marawi City, looking into the prices of such basic goods like eggs, cooking oil, dressed chicken, and liquified petroleum gas tanks.
Aside from Marawi City, the MTIT- LDS team is also set to monitor every week its 39 municipalities in the province to stop opportunist businessmen.
Other special price monitoring teams across the BARMM are expected to follow suit in stabilizing the prices of essential goods.
Taddik said under Republic Act (RA) 7394, or the Consumer Act, overpricing may be considered as an unfair and unconscionable sales act or practice as it involves taking advantage of consumers in this time of need.
He added that RA 7581, or the Price Act, also considers such action as profiteering.
Both laws provide criminal and administrative penalties and sanctions of up to PHP300,000 in fines and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
This year’s Ramadan began on April 13 and is expected to end on May 12 or May 13, depending on the sighting of the next crescent or new moon.
The BARMM comprises the cities of Marawi, Lamitan, and Cotabato; the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi; and 63 villages in six towns in North Cotabato. (PNA)