COTABATO CITY - Prices of prime commodities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) remain stable, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said. “Hindi totoo ang kumakalat na balita na umabot na sa limang libong piso ang presyo ng isang sakong bigas,stable ang presyo ng bilihin,” said DTI-ARMM Secretary Anwar Malang as he clarified issues on the alleged increases in prices of goods in Lanao del Sur. “We are reminding our retailers to comply with the set price ceiling,” he said. A price freeze of commodities was automatically enforced in Mindanao after President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law for 60 days on May 23 following clashes between the government troops and terror groups in Marawi City. Under Republic Act 7581, or the Price Act, price freeze on basic necessities shall be automatically implemented in areas under a state of calamity. The measure covers basic goods including canned sardines, processed milk, bottled water, locally manufactured instant noodles, coffee, detergent soap, bread, candles, salt, rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh pork, fresh beef, fresh poultry meat, fresh and dried fish and other marine products, fresh egg, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, root crops and sugar. Sec. Malang said his office is conducting weekly price monitoring not only in Lanao del Sur but in other provinces of the ARMM as well. “We are intensifying the monitoring to check if business establishments are complying with the price freeze order,” he said.
Because of the recent crisis in Marawi City, the department has organized and deployed two special price monitoring teams in Lanao del Sur, he said. The monitoring covers the municipalities of Buadipuso Buntong, Ditsaan-Ramain, Poona Bayabao, Tamparan, Malabang, Ganassi, Marantao and Watu Balindong.
Sec. Malang said reports on the field indicated price increases of only up to 10% in the municipalities of Marantao and Ditsaan-Ramain. “The minimal increases in prices (of basic goods) in those areas (Marantao and Ditsaan-Ramain) are justifiable on account of transportation costs incurred in the hauling of goods from suppliers in Iligan City,” he said. Supply of basic commodities in Lanao del Sur comes from the cities of Iligan in Lanao del Norte, Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental, and Pagadian in Zamboanga del Sur. Penalties for those who violate the price freeze include a fine ranging from P5,000 to P1,000,000 and/or imprisonment from one to 10 years. Price control of basic necessities remains while Martial Law is in effect. Billboards on the price ceiling of basic goods, price freeze advisories, and other relevant information will be posted all over the region through the DTI-ARMM’s provincial offices. (Bureau of Public Information)
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