Muling nagpaalala ang Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sa publiko hinggil sa posibleng kaharapin ng mga pasaway na magho-hoard at magbebenta ng mahal sa mga medical devices sa gitna ng outbreak ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon kay DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez, inirekomenda na nila kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang paglalabas ng Executive Order para mapadali ang pagsasampa ng kaso at mabigat na parusa sa mga mananamantalang mag-overprice ng alcohol, gamot, mga face mask, at iba pang medical equipment.

“We have recommended to the President the issuance of an Executive Order for easier procedure of filing of cases and imposition of stiffer penalties for profiteering. The proposed EO will arm the DTI together with DILG, PNP and NBI with visitorial powers to address the issue on prices and supply of medical products,” ani Lopez.

Iginiit ng kalihim ang nilalaman ng RA No. 7394 o Consumer Act na nagbabawal sa overpricing ng mga face mask. Paglabag din daw ito sa RA No. 7581 o Price Act.

Bukod sa mga kaso, pagmumultahin din ng aabot sa hanggang P2-milyon ang mga mapapatunayang lumabag sa nasabing mga batas.

“Both of these laws provide criminal and administrative penalties and sanctions. Under the Consumer Act, if found to have committed an unfair and unconscionable sales act or practice, an administrative sanction of up to P300,000 may be imposed and/or imprisonment of up to one (1) year.”

“For profiteering, the Price Act provides for the imposition of fine of up to P2,000,000 and/or imprisonment up to 15 years.”

“The DTI continues to intensify its monitoring and enforcement efforts to
ensure the reasonableness of prices and sufficiency of supply of goods in
the market. This includes the basic necessities as price freeze is in effect
throughout the country following the declaration of State of Public Health
Emergency. During price freeze, prices of basic goods are frozen at their prevailing prices for 60 days which means that no price movement is allowed within this period.”

“Consumers are enjoined to report hoarding, profiteering, panic buying, and any other illegal act of price manipulation through the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or send an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph.”