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Agencies to implement price controls as Philippines enters state of calamity over COVID-19

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Agencies to implement price controls as Philippines enters state of calamity over COVID-19
Under the circular, the existing price control measures being implemented by the health and agriculture departments shall be maintained.
The STAR / Krizjohn Rosales, file

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang ordered agencies and local governments to ensure compliance with price controls on essential medicines and supplies and selected agriculture products to prevent traders from taking advantage of the panic over the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The directive is contained in Memorandum Circular No. 77 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Tuesday.

The circular was signed a day after Duterte declared a state of calamity throughout the country for six months due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. The proclamation was made public on Tuesday.

"The ongoing global concern on the spread of the COVID-19 has increased the demand for essential emergency drugs and medical supplies, and basic food commodities, thereby making these products susceptible to acts of illegal price manipulation," Medialdea said in the circular.

"There is a need for coordinated measures to promote and protect the health of the Filipino people and ensure the accessibility of the general public to essential commodities until the COVID-19 situation is stabilized," he added.

Under the circular, the existing price control measures being implemented by the health and agriculture departments shall be maintained.

The price control measures are enumerated in Department of Health (DOH) memorandum numbers 2020-0058, 0058-A, and 0058-B, which cover emergency medicines and medical supplies; and Department of Agriculture (DA) Administrative Circular No. 1, which imposes suggested retail prices on basic agricultural and fishery commodities in Metro Manila.

In a memorandum released last January, DOH described essential medicines as a basic necessity especially in times of natural calamities and man-made disasters that put the health and lives of Filipino at risk because of unfavorable conditions that cause or aggravate diseases.

The essential medical devices covered by the DOH memorandum include ethyl alcohol, particulate respirator, face masks, sterile gloves, nebulizer, and oxygen cannula.

The DA circular, meanwhile, set  suggested retail prices for fully dressed chicken, raw and refined sugar, pigue, kasim, milkfish, tilapia, round scad or fresh frozen imported galunggong, garlic and red onion.

The DOH, DA and trade department were directed to continuously monitor and review the prices of basic commodities within their respective jurisdictions.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS STATE OF NATIONAL CALAMITY
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