Agencies asked to implement price control measures

Malacañang has ordered all government agencies, offices, and local government units to implement price control measures on basic food commodities and emergency medicines due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in the country.

Memorandum Circular No. 77 requires those concerned to strictly implement and comply with the price control measures implemented by the Departments of Health (DOH) and Agriculture (DA).

Signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Tuesday, the memo takes effect immediately.

The memo was released after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of calamity throughout the country for six months unless lifted or extended.

In signing the memo, Medialdea recognized that the Covid-19 threat makes these products susceptible to acts of illegal price manipulation.

“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 memo read.

The DOH, DA, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are directed to undertake continuous monitoring and review of the prices of basic commodities within their respective jurisdiction.

Last week, President Duterte declared a state of public health emergency throughout the Philippines due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

He placed the entire Luzon under “enhanced community quarantine” from March 17 until April 14.

This memo comes a month after President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 104 which cuts the maximum retail prices (MRP) and maximum wholesale price (MWP) of some 87 high-cost medicines by up to 58 percent.

The proposed medicines on the list address leading diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung diseases, and major cancers.

It also includes high-cost treatments for prematurity, chronic renal disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis requested by patient and consumer organizations as well as several medical societies.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described the signing of the EO as part of the Duterte administration’s lasting reforms to ensure that all Filipinos can live “decent and comfortable lives.”

As of Tuesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said there are 187 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Philippines with 12 deaths.

With more than 150 countries affected by Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic which means a worldwide spread of a new disease.

Source: Philippines News Agency