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By: Mylen Manto | Published Tuesday, March 24, 2020
The Cebu Provincial Board passed on Monday, March 23 an ordinance setting the punishment for those who continue to hoard basic goods and commodities amid the COVID-19 crisis. (Donald Moga)

Fines and imprisonment await those who will not refrain from panic-buying and hoarding of basic necessities and commodities amid the threat of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on Monday, March 23, approved the Anti-Hoarding and Anti-Panic Buying Act for the Province of Cebu.

“This Ordinance is crafted to prevent the possible supply chain disruption on basic and essential necessities and to likewise ensure the availability of such goods and products during the duration of the declared National Public Health Emergency,” the ordinance read.

The ordinance shall apply to all persons who purchase or sell products and goods covered by the ordinance.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, in a press conference on Tuesday, March 24, said the ordinance will give clearer rules to all business establishments in the province as to how many kilos of rice, canned goods, sugar and liter of oils will be sold to a customer.

Aside from costumers, limitations are also imposed to registered retailers, sari-sari store owners, restaurant and hotel operators, and other business owners which require the purchase of goods and commodities in large quantities.

Business establishments have to post in conspicuous places within their premises a copy of the list of the regulated items enumerated in the Ordinance to inform the customers for their purchase limitation.

“We are warning these establishments. I have constituted the Provincial Price Control Task Force og kini sila molibot sa tanan, aron pagsiguro nga ang price ceiling sa basic necessities and commodities sundon,” Garcia said.

The task force will also check if the establishments followed the quota in selling the basic necessities and commodities like rice, corn, root crops, bread, as well as fresh fruits, flour, feeds, soy sauce, spices, and others. 

“Duna na ni penalties, sa first, second, and third offense,” she said, adding that revocation of their business permit is possible.

For household consumers who will violate the said Ordinance will be meted the following penalties: P1,000 fine for first offense; P3,000 fine for second offense; and P5,000 and imprisonment of one year for third offense.

If registered retailers, sari-sari store owners, restaurant and hotel operators, and other business owners will violate any of the provisions and requirements set by the Ordinance, the following penalties will be accorded to them: P3,000 fine for first offense; P5,000 fine for second offense; and for third offense, P5,000 fine along with imprisonment of one year.

The business permit of violators will be immediately revoked by the local government unit and they will be disallowed from reacquiring a business permit. (Mylen Manto)