Price freeze in effect in quake-hit Surigao
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Sunday issued a price freeze on basic commodities in Surigao City following the declaration of a state of calamity due to the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the area last Friday.
In an advisory, the DTI said prices of basic necessities were automatically frozen at their prevailing prices, which shall be the average price of the basic necessity within a month from the occurrence of the state of calamity.
Citing Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act of the Philippines, the DTI said the price freeze should remain in effect for the duration of the state of calamity, but not for more than 60 days, provided that for household LPG and kerosene the duration should not be more than 15 days.
Basic necessities include rice, corn, bread, fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine produce; fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh eggs, fresh and processed milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, salt, laundry soap, detergents, firewood, charcoal, candles, drugs classified as essential by the Department of Health, potable water in bottles and containers, fresh fruits, locally manufactured instant noodles, household liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and kerosene.
Violators of the price freeze may suffer imprisonment for a year to 10 years, or a fine ranging from P5,000 to P1,000,000.
The local government of Surigao City on Saturday declared a state of emergency after the 6.7-magnitude earthquake killed at least six people, injured 100 others, and destroyed infrastructure.
According to the social welfare department, at least eight houses were destroyed and more than 300 others were damaged in 28 barangays in the city.
The Friday quake was the strongest to hit the city since 1879, according to state seismologists. CBB/rga