(Photo courtesy of Abra Province Facebook)

MANILA – A party-list lawmaker on Friday urged government agencies to enforce the price freeze on essential goods in areas under a state of calamity due to the massive destruction caused by a magnitude 7 earthquake that hit northern Luzon on Wednesday.

Pinuno Party-list Representative Howard Guintu cited Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, which states that prices of basic necessities shall be frozen at their prevailing prices for sixty (60) days or until sooner lifted by the President whenever there is a declaration of a state of emergency, calamity, or other similar conditions.

“Siguruhin sana ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) at iba pang ahensiya ng gobyerno na sapat ang suplay ng mga pangunahing bilihin sa Abra at ipa bang lugar na tinamaan ng lindol sa norte at bantayan nila na walang mga magsasamantala sa trahedyang ito (The DTI and other government agencies should ensure that the supplies of basic goods in Abra and other parts that were hit by the earthquake are enough),” Guintu said.

Guintu noted that the DTI has jurisdiction over basic goods such as canned sardines, processed marine products, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, and laundry soap, detergent, and salt.

He said the Department of Agriculture (DA) covers agricultural crops, fish and other marine products, fresh meat, fresh poultry and dairy products, as well as fertilizers, while essential medicines are under the Department of Health (DOH).

“Kung kinailangan ay i-tap natin ang ating kapulisan upang tumulong sa pagbantay ng price freeze (If needed, we could tap the police force to help in monitoring the price freeze),” Guintu said.

“Bantayan po natin itong maigi para hindi na dagdagan pa ang pagdurusa ng mga nasalanta ng lindol dahil ng pagtataas ng presyo ng mga bilihin na kailangang kailangan nila sa mga panahong ito (Let us monitor this carefully so that there wouldn’t be any price increase for essential goods that would add to the burden of those affected by the earthquake)," he added.

Resolution 180, Series of 2022, was unanimously signed by all officials of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Abra in a special session on Thursday to enable the provincial government to immediately address the needs of its people.

“Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, to declare the Province of Abra under the State of Calamity to mobilize the Provincial and the 27 LGUs to respond to the immediate needs of Abrenios and for other purposes,” the resolution read.

“Resolved further, commitment to this destruction the 58 percent Calamity Reserve Fund is available and authorized to be utilized for the purpose and for other related purposes,” it added.

Meanwhile, the province is also requesting immediate assistance from the national government and the different concerned agencies for proper disaster response, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction support.

The magnitude 7 earthquake that jolted northern Luzon on Wednesday had its epicenter recorded in Tayum, Abra. (PNA)