Malacañang has ordered government agencies and local government units to implement and ensure compliance with price control measures while the Philippines is working to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued the directive through Memorandum Circular 77 signed on Tuesday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte placed the Philippines under a state of calamity due to the threat of COVID-19.
The Department of Health has imposed a price freeze on emergency medicines and medical supplies while the Department of Agriculture set suggested retail prices on basic agricultural and fishery commodities in Metro Manila.
“[T]he ongoing global concern on the spread of 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,” the circular stated.
“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.”
The circular, which took effect immediately, stated that the existing price control measures being implemented by the DOH and DA must be maintained.
It also directed the DOH, DA and the Department of Trade and Industry to conduct continuous monitoring and review of the prices of basic commodities within their respective jurisdictions, and impose price control measures.
The Philippines has so far reported 187 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to the DOH. — Virgil Lopez/BM, GMA News