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PNP to assist DTI in price-freeze enforcement in quake-hit Abra

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday said that it will assist the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the implementation of a price freeze of basic commodities in Abra following the strong earthquake that hit the province last week.

PNP Officer in Charge Vicente Danao Jr. said since Abra is already in a state of a calamity, it is necessary that the prices of basic necessities be kept at the prevailing level as ordered by the DTI.

“The PNP is tasked to aid in the enforcement of the mandate within the jurisdiction of the local government unit concerned. We also take part in monitoring market activities against hoarding, profiteering, price manipulation and unfair trade practices,” Danao said.

Danao ordered all police units in Abra to coordinate with the DTI on the implementation of the price freeze.

“If we will receive report regarding the possible violation, then we will work hand-in-hand with the DTI and LGU [local government unit] to check on the veracity of the alleged illegal act and conduct operations if such complaint warrants action,” he said.

Business establishments proven to have violated the price freeze would be imposed with a fine amounting from P5,000 to P1,000,000 and or imprisonment for a period of one year to 10 years.

“This is high time to show unity and compassion, instead of taking advantage of the situation resulting to committing criminal acts. We encourage our ‘kababayans’ to immediately report to us cases of hoarding, massive price increase and other forms of blatant profiteering. We will act on it immediately in coordination with the DTI,” Danao said.

Commodities were reported to have become scarce in Abra following the quake that hit the province.

Currently, the government is pouring assistance to the province as its residents struggled to recover from the devastating effects of the temblor.

PRC at ground zero

Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said it has provided psychological first aid (PFA) to over 700 persons, including 216 children in Northern Luzon. Those who received PFA treatment were from quake hit provinces of Abra and Ilocos Sur.

PFA is given by trained individuals to people who have just experienced a serious crisis event. The World Health Organization says it “involves humane, supportive and practical assistance for people who are distressed, in ways that respect their dignity, culture, and abilities.”

Trained PRC facilitators give PFA to children through activities that are appropriate to their age, such as games.

PRC’s Welfare Services Team set up Child-Friendly Spaces (CFSs) in areas affected by hazard events as a standard component of PRC’s disaster responses.

Meanwhile, as of July 31, PRC has distributed around 16,000 liters of water through its water tankers, 3,180 hot meals, 1,200 bottles of water, 970 face masks, 762 hygiene kits, and 262 sleeping kits, among other forms of humanitarian aid.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that the quake affected more than 1.7 million people in Abra, Ilocos Sur, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Benguet, Baguio, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan-Dagupan, Aurora, Cagayan, and Nueva Ecija.

More than 600 families, or around 3,000 persons, are still in evacuation centers. More than 4,500 houses were damaged. With Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco

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