Gov't orders strict watch on prices, activates regional wage boards
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Sunday they will arrest violators who will be caught raising prices of their goods.
This after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Trade and Industry to be vigilant against businessmen who are taking advantage of rising prices of oil and the subsequent hike in the inflation rate.
Inflation rate has been rising since January 2018, prompting the central bank to raise policy rates by 25 basis points.
"We have intensified the monitoring. Will arrest violators. Ordering the FTEB (Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau) to give daily reports," Lopez said.
In a television interview, Lopez said they are monitoring around 400 stores in the Metro Manila and the regions and they have not found violators since January.
A possible price freeze may be one of the government’s options if inflation continues rising, Lopez said. .
Trade Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group Ruth Castelo said they monitor prices in the market daily and enforcement teams are always on the go 3-4 times a week.
"We are closely monitoring possible violators but for basic necessities and prime commodities, but they know that DTI is always watching so they keep their prices within SRP ( suggested retail price)," she said.
Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras said regional wage boards have been ordered activated to consult labor groups and other stakeholders on possible increase in the minimum wage.
Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has instructed the PNOC Exploration Corporation will talk to the country's suppliers of oil to have a comprehensive strategy in addressing oil reserves and stockpiling.
“These endeavors may also be utilized to address other concerns regarding energy security,” he said.
Based on their monitoring, gasoline prices average P56.72 per liter while diesel is at P42.85 per liter in Metro Manila.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Energy are doing what they can to look for cheaper oil. Ella Dionisio/DMS