The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced a nationwide price freeze on basic necessities pursuant to the Price Act or Republic Act 7581 amid the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
Section 6 of the law states that prices of basic necessities shall be frozen at their prevailing prices for 60 days or until sooner lifted by the President whenever there is a declaration of a state of emergency, calamity, or other similar conditions.
Proclamation 922, which puts the country under a state of public health emergency due to Covid-19 outbreak, triggered the implementation of a nationwide price freeze.
“The DTI is closely coordinating with other government agencies, manufacturers and retailers of basic goods to ensure availability and continuous supply in the market. Retailers are reminded that there should be no price movement on these goods while the price freeze is in effect,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
Basic goods that are under the jurisdiction of the DTI include canned fish and other marine products, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent and salt.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) covers basic agricultural goods such as rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh, dried and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, sugar and fresh fruits.
Essential drugs are under the Department of Health while firewood and charcoal are with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Household liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene are under the Department of Energy.
All these basic goods are placed under price freeze for 60 days with the exception of household LPG and kerosene whose prices shall be frozen for 15 days only as provided in the Amended Price Act, or RA 10623.
Meanwhile, on ensuring price reasonableness, DTI-Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Ruth Castelo assures the public the “department continues to intensify its monitoring and enforcement activities on the prices of basic goods in the market, including N-95, N-88, and other similar face masks.”
It can be recalled that since the phreatic eruption of Taal Volcano, the DTI included face masks in its monitoring which remains relevant to this day as the country addresses the outbreak of Covid-19.
Business establishments found to have violated the price freeze shall be imposed with a fine amounting to PHP5,000 up to PHP1 million and/or imprisonment for a period of one year up to 10 years.
Consumers are enjoined to report business establishments that sell basic necessities beyond the price freeze by calling the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or sending an email to, ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph. (PR)