De Lima warns hoarders, profiteers amid Yolanda crisis
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Wednesday warned that those who will take advantage of the situation in areas affected by typhoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan) by increasing prices of basic goods shall be charged and prosecuted.
“There are several laws that become operative in times like this and these laws have penal provisions,” De Lima told reporters in a chance interview.
The government has already imposed a price freeze in typhoon disaster zones. The Department of Trade and Industry said prevailing prices must remain for the next 60 days.
Under RA 75811, prices of essential commodities are automatically placed under price control whenever the President declares an area under the state of calamity, disaster, emergency, rebellion, war, martial law, or when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended.
Included in the price freeze are rice, corn, bread, fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products, 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 and drugs classified as essential. The government also classified bottled water, fruits, instant noodles, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas as essential supplies.
Violators, De Lima said, “shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment for a period of not less than 5 years nor more than 15 years, and shall be imposed a fine of not less than P5,000 nor more than P2,000,000.”
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