Palace warns unscrupulous traders from jacking up prices
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Department of Trade and Industry to be vigilant against unscrupulous businessmen who have been jacking up the prices of their goods.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this was one of the measures to caution the impact of the rising prices of oil.
Without citing any basis, he said that about "70 percent" of the businessmen have been taking advantage of the situation.
Among the penalties that businesses may face include fines or closure or both, he said.
"The DTI surveillance team has been activated," he said.
Roque said that the Department of Labor and Employment is also looking into increasing the minimum wage.
But he noted that it will be the regional wage boards that will study the possible hike on wages as prescribed by law.
On the increasing prices of oil, the spokesman said the government might also import the product from Russia, a non-member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
While the diesel from Russia could have high sulfur content, he said this could be processed in Singapore.
Roque said the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Energy are now doing what they can to look for cheaper oil.
He earlier said that the government would also suspend the excise taxes on oil products if the price per barrel reaches to $80. Celerina Monte/DMS