By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan warns price manipulators against unnecessarily jacking up prices of basic goods, especially food and fuel.
“May nagkwento sa akin, nag-order daw siya ng cooking gas at sinabi niya na magdala ng sukli para sa P1,000. Sagot daw sa kanya, P1,050 na po ang isang tangke na 11-kilogram. Ang bilis ng pagtaas ng presyo,” he said.
Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act imposes stiff penalties in those caught overpricing or profiteering.
Pangilinan urges consumers to report incidents of overpricing or file a complaint against establishments proven to sell goods above the allowed price.
Pangilinan also urges the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and local government units to work together to ensure that prices of basic commodities are kept within the allowed range amid another lockdown and after the damage to crops brought by typhoon Odette.
“Dapat bantayan na hindi bagyuhin ng mataas na presyo ng pagkain at iba pang bilihin ang ating mga kababayan pagkatapos ng bagyong Odette. Marami pa rin ang hindi pa nakakabalik sa trabaho at dumadaing sa pang-araw-araw na gastusin. Hindi na sila dapat parusahan lalo sa mataas na presyo ng bilihin,” he said.
The former presidential food security adviser called on the DTI to activate its price monitoring teams nationwide and not only in the areas affected by Odette in the Visayas and Mindanao.
He said price surges could also impact Metro Manila and other areas in the country as some of the produce come from the typhoon-hit regions.
Price control of basic commodities are in effect over MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and CARAGA, which have been placed under state of calamity.
“Ramdam din ang kalamidad sa Metro Manila at iba pang lugar sa bansa kung hindi mababantayan ang pagtaas ng presyo ng pagkain at iba pang pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan,” Pangilinan said.
“The government must show the strength of the law in preventing profiteers from taking advantage of the situation,” he said.
The Department of Agriculture earlier placed damage to crops and farm areas due to Odette at around P9 billion.
Several ports were also damaged making the transport of goods difficult.
Pangilinan earlier visited several communities hit by the typhoon in Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, and Surigao and distributed relief goods. He also helped coordinate local authorities with the private sector to speed up the resumption of services to the typhoon victims.