By Rey Anthony Chiu | 12:27 AM January 23, 2022
Within the week, 12 stores and supermarkets with government accreditation would bo forced to appear before the regional adjudication officer to air their side on their blatant disregard to the price freeze order which the government issued amidst a state of calamity.
Having been delivered Notices of Violations (NOV), these store owners have to personally appear before the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Regional Adjudication Officer within 48 hours upon receipt of the notice, or the government agency escalates the over-pricing case to the courts for proper litigation.
After that, it is either they get a fine of between P5,000 to P1,000,000.00 or P5,000 to P2,000,000.00 depending on the affixed violation.
The DTI can actually hail the store for violation of the Price Freeze, which has a maximum penalty of P1,000.000.00 or use the Fair Trade Law, on Acts of Illegal Price Manipulation.
The 12 are just a fragment of the 76 stores, establishments and supermarkets which the DTI and the Local Price Coordinating Councils hailed for selling overpriced basic necessities and prime commodities.
Earlier, after the DTI issued the price freeze order last December 21, or a few days after typhoon Odette left a massive trail of destruction all over the region, the DTI froze the prices to protect the consumers from unscrupulous businessmen who prey on the victims of calamity.
The 76 have been issued Letters of Inquiry or Show Cause Orders as a formal observance of the due process in pursuing those who sabotage the government in times of calamities.
Across the region, the DTI in Central Visayas handed a total of 84 LOIs, which allowed the perceived violators some three working days to check on the DTI for their violations.
Of the 84, 8 of them are stores, while of the 8, four have been issued NOVs.
AT least, a store in Cebu has accordingly admitted culpability and paid a P5,000 penalty.
With the penalty, is a potential black list in the DTI for the store.
As this went on, the DTI continues to call on consumers to report any perceived violation against the price freeze or any illegal trade practice that could sabotage the local economy. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)