Price freeze sought on essential commodities in earthquake-hit areas

LACKING THE BASICS Residents affected by the July 27 earthquake in Bangued, Abra, wait in line for their water supply in this photo taken on Friday. —REUTERS

MANILA, Philippines — A party-list representative called on government agencies to implement  a price freeze on essential commodities in areas declared a disaster area or under state of calamity after the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit Abra province.

Pinuno Party-list Rep. Howard Guintu cited Republic Act (RA) 7581 which provides that “prices of basic necessities in an area shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control” whenever an area is a disaster area or under a state of calamity.

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The price freeze should be effective for not more than 60 days or unless sooner lifted by the president.

“The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other government agencies should ensure that there is an ample supply of basic goods in Abra and in other areas that were affected by the earthquake in Northern Luzon. They should also make sure that no one takes advantage of this tragedy,” said Guintu in a statement.

The province of Abra is currently under a state of calamity after it released a resolution citing severe damage to private and government properties caused by the major earthquake.

Meanwhile, Guintu also pointed out that at least four northern towns in the Abra — Tubo, Daguioman, Bucloc and Lacub — remain isolated due to landslides blocking the roads.

“Let us work together to alleviate the suffering of our countrymen in the north who were struck by the quake. If needed, let us tap the police to help monitor the price freeze,” Guintu said.

“Let us be vigilant in implementing the price freeze so that we will not be adding to the burden of the quake victims who would suffer all the more if the prices of essential goods that they badly need right now would skyrocket,” he added.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) earlier warned that aftershocks may occur for several days and even up to months.

As of 6:00 p.m., Saturday, Phivolcs said it has recorded 1,459 total aftershocks ranging from magnitude 1.4 to 5.0

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