594 arrested for hoarding, profiteering amid COVID-19 crisis
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 594 persons were arrested by authorities due to hoarding and/or profiteering and manipulation of prices of basic commodities amid the price freeze being enforced as the country grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
President Rodrigo Duterte revealed this in his second report on the use of his additional powers Congress granted him to address the health crisis, citing data from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Duterte also reported that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have jointly conducted 110 operations that led to the arrest of 96 persons for violations of various consumer, food, drug, price, and cybercrime laws.
To ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at a reasonable price, the DTI launched 1,289 monitoring activities from March 28 to April 1 where 5,192 firms were monitored with 97 percent compliance.
The Trade department has processed 427 online complaints, endorsed 250 complaints to various agencies, issued 140 letters of inquiry and four notices of violation to various retailers with one formal charge.
A total of 544 campaigns against hoarding and profiteering through the efforts of the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau, resulted in 64 arrests, Duterte told Congress.
“The DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) also reports that 594 individuals were arrested for hoarding and/or profiteering and manipulation of prices of basic commodities,” he added.
The President also mentioned the March 31 raids of the Bureau of Customs and Philippine Coast Guard which yielded an estimated P15 million worth of smuggled personal protective equipment.
As of April 2, Duterte said a total of 1,533 Local Price Coordination Councils nationwide have been activated to closely monitor the prices and supply of basic necessities and prime commodities.
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