AT this time of national health emergency, the availability of low-priced goods, particularly food and medicine, is a must for the survival of the poor and the rest of the suffering Filipino people.
In the view of many, including the ordinary consumers, the overpricing of essential commodities is an unconscionable act that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
To ensure that nobody takes undue advantage of others, the government has imposed a 60-day price freeze on essential goods not only in Metropolitan Manila but throughout the country.
Essential goods include canned fish and other marine products, locally-produced instant noodles, bread, processed milk, bottled water, coffee, salt, detergent, candles and laundry soap.
Under a joint memorandum of agreement issued by three departments Wednesday night, the price freeze would be implemented until May 15 as the coronavirus terrorizes the world.
The signatories are the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health, headed by Secretaries Ramon Lopez, William Dar and Francisco Duque III, respectively.
Like the rest of well-meaning people across the country, we support the Duterte administration’s efforts to stop hoarding and overpricing of goods during the public health emergency.
Some quarters, on the other hand, urged the government to use barangay halls, day care centers and senior citizens’ buildings as distribution centers for low-priced essential goods and medicines.
“Sana sa mga lugar na ito na lang bumili ang taumbayan ng mga pangangailangan nila araw-araw. Ito ay para huwag na silang pumunta sa bayan,” said a housewife in Pindangan East, Alcala, Pangasinan.
It’s a move in the right direction considering the ban on public transportation from March 17 to April 13 to enforce home quarantine not only in the National Capital Region but throughout Luzon.