DTI-NegOcc freezes prices, limits purchase of alcohol, masks


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has implemented a price freeze on all basic goods and welcomed the move of stores in Negros Occidental, including the capital Bacolod City, to set a limit in the volume of rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer purchases amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) scare.

Romel Amihan, head of Consumer Protection Unit of DTI-Negros Occidental, said the self-regulation will enable other consumers to also purchase the products and will prevent possible hoarding of rubbing alcohol stocks.

Some consumers here have reportedly complained about stores imposing such limits.

“So far, there’s no panic buying in Negros Occidental, but a significant increase in the purchase of alcohol and hand sanitizers has been observed,” Amihan said.

On Friday noon, a check at the supermarket of SM City Bacolod showed display shelves empty of rubbing alcohol stocks although various brands of laundry and bath soaps were readily available.

The establishment limits purchases of rubbing alcohol to only three bottles per customer, based on the notices posted on the shelves.

In another shopping mall, stores are limiting purchases to only two bottles per person.

Moreover, Amihan said stocks of face masks are still limited especially in pharmacies here. “Generally, there are no available stocks in the province now,” he said.

Whenever new stocks come in, these immediately run out because of high demand, he added.

Amihan said both rubbing alcohol and face masks are now included in the list of items they regularly monitor for price movements.

There is also a price freeze on all basic goods in the province pursuant to the Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, he added.

A price freeze is implemented when there is a declaration of a state of emergency, calamity, disaster, rebellion, and war, suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus, and martial law. It is effective for 60 days for basic necessities and 15 days for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene.

Amihan said they are in the process of establishing a baseline data or reference with regards to the freezing of prices.

Under the DTI, basic goods covered by the price freeze include canned fish and other marine products, processed milk, coffee, laundry soap, detergent, candles, bread, salt, potable water in bottles and containers, as well as locally-manufactured instant noodles. (Erwin Nicavera pna)

Leave a Reply