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DTI: 400 arrested for profiteering and hoarding

By Genalyn Kabiling

Nearly 400 people have been arrested for alleged profiteering and hoarding of essential products during the country’s public health emergency situation, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said over the weekend.

Lopez said many of these arrests stemmed from the 1,384 complaints raised by consumers to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez (ALBERT ALCAIN/PPD / MANILA BULLETIN)

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez (ALBERT ALCAIN/PPD / MANILA BULLETIN)

With the price freeze order imposed during the state of calamity, Lopez noted that the trade department has partnered with law enforcers to monitor prices of consumer products and take action against those violating the law.

“To date, we were able to arrest already close to 400 violators sa profiteering and hoarding nationwide. So tuluy-tuloy ang kampanya natin dito so that masigurado natin iyong tamang presyo lamang (We will continue our campaign to ensure the right prices of products),” Lopez said over government television last Saturday.

“Many of these leads ay inaaksiyunan ng, iyong nakuwento ko kaninang mga naaaresto natin, karamihan po ay galing din sa mga feedback from those complaining. (We have acted on many of these leads. Most of those arrested came from the feedback from those complaining),” he added.

Lopez urged the public to stay vigilant and report any unlawful trade practices in their communities. He said the government will continue to take action to ensure consumer protection.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa taumbayan for being vigilant in these times, and kailangan natin nang mas marami pang ganitong feedback para maaksyunan agad. Kaya madami na tayong napuntahan—actually, over 500 na ang napuntahan at ang mga naaresto, iyon na nga ‘no, mga close to 400 na (We thank the public for being vigilant in these times and we need more feedback so we can take action. We have visited actually over 500 and arrested close to 400),” he said.

The government has implemented a price freeze on basic necessities and prime commodities since March following the declaration of a state of calamity in the Philippines. The price freeze will remain in effect for 60 days or until May 15.

Under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, violators may face up to P2 millions in fines and 15 years of imprisonment.

Lopez said they have stepped up market visits to check compliance with the price freeze and prevent any overpricing and hoarding of products.

“Tuloy po ang ating monitoring (We continue our monitoring) and we are fortunate to have a deputized also the other agencies like the PNP-CIDG (Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) and National Bureau of Investigation,” he said.

“Sila po ang ating mga ka-partners sa pagbisita sa mga retailers, wholesalers, checking on possible profiteering and hoarding, at tuloy din iyong pag-monitoring ng mga prices of basic commodities, prime commodities sa mga supermarkets (They are our partners in visiting retailers, wholesalers, checking on possible profiteering and hoarding. We continue to monitor the prices of basic commodities, price commodities in supermarkets),” he said.

In his fifth weekly report to Congress last Monday, President Duterte noted the ongoing efforts in enforcing trade and consumer laws. He said the DTI has reported a 95 percent compliance rate in price freeze directives in basic and prime goods in 15 regions outside Metro Manila.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/05/03/dti-400-arrested-for-profiteering-and-hoarding/)

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