Republic Act No. 2610

 

 

AN ACT

TO STABILIZE AND CHECK THE SPIRALING OF THE PRICES OF CERTAIN COMMODITIES

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

 

SECTION 1.  It is hereby declared to be the national policy of the state during periods of short supply or of unreasonable price levels to protect the interest of the consumer by preventing, locally or generally, the scarcity, monopolization, hoarding, injurious speculation, manipulation, and profiteering, affecting the supply, distribution and movement of both imported and locally manufactured or produced foodstuffs, textile, clothing, drugs, medicines, paper and paper products, school supplies, construction materials, agricultural and industrial machinery and their spare parts, fertilizers, insecticides and weedicides, and fuel and lubricants, and other commodities control of the prices of which may be deemed essential to public interest.

 

SEC. 2.  To implement the above-declared policy and to carry out the provisions of this Act, the President of the Philippines is hereby authorized, upon certification of the National Economic Council that a commodity is in short supply or there exists reasonable ground to believe it will disappear from the open market, or the price thereof has risen to an abnormal level:

 

(1)      To establish, by executive order, such maximum prices at which the commodity may be sold at retail or wholesale, as shall be generally fair, reasonable and equitable;

 

(2)      To direct the NARIC, with respect to rice and corn, and the NAMARCO, with respect to other commodities, to import the commodity in short supply for distribution in the local market, and such importation shall not be subject to any tax or foreign exchange control, but should the Price Administration Board be created, this function shall be exercised upon its recommendation;

 

(3)      To impound at reasonable cost, if public interests demand, local inventories of the commodity in short supply and order their distribution by the NAMARCO in the local market;

 

(4)      To promulgate, by Executive Order, such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the policy declared in Section I hereof and enforce the powers granted herein; and

 

(5)      To designate such existing board, instrumentality or agency, of the government, hereinafter called Agency, to assist him in the execution of this Act, or he may upon such certification by the National Economic Council, create a Price Administration Board which shall be composed of a Chairman, who shall be at the same time the Price Administrator, the General Manager of the National Marketing Corporation (NAMARCO), the General Manager of the National Rice and Corn Corporation (NARIC), the Chief of the Philippine Constabulary and the Solicitor General and four other members, one to represent producers, one to represent the distributors, and the two others to represent the consumers, one of whom shall be a woman and the other to represent labor, who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.

 

The Chairman shall receive a compensation of twelve thousand pesos per annum and the four other appointive members shall each receive a per diem of twenty-five pesos for each meeting actually attended by them and in no case to exceed five hundred pesos per month.  Subject to the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations, the price Administrator shall appoint, suspend and remove and fix the compensation of the other officials and employees of the Board.

 

In the provinces, municipalities and chartered cities, the Agency or the Price Administration Board shall enforce the provisions of this Act through the provincial price administration committee, the municipal price administration committee and the city price administration committee, respectively, and shall have general supervision and control over the said committees insofar as their duties pertain to the enforcement of this Act.

 

There shall be a provincial price administration committee in each province, to be composed of the provincial fiscal, as chairman, the provincial commander of the Philippine Constabulary, the division superintendent of schools, the provincial treasurer, the commercial agent of the province or one of them so designated by the Agency or Price Administration Board, and the head of a civic organization appointed by the Price Administrator, as members.  In provinces where there are two or more civic organizations, the heads of at least two such organizations shall be appointed as members of the Committee.

 

There shall be a municipal price administration committee in each municipality, to be composed of the municipal treasurer, as chairman, the chief of police, the senior public school principal teacher, and the head of a civic organization appointed by the Price Administrator, as members:  Provided, That in municipalities where there are two or more civic organizations, the heads of at least two of such organizations shall be appointed as members of the committee.

 

There shall be a city price administration committee in each chartered city, to be composed of the city attorney or fiscal, as chairman, the chief of police, the city superintendent of schools, the city treasurer, and the head of a civic organization appointed by the Price Administrator as members.  In cities where there are two or more civic organizations, the heads of at least two such organizations shall be appointed as members of the committee.  The provincial and city price administration committees shall appoint an executive director with a corresponding staff for their respective committees who shall be responsible for the management and implementation of the policies of their respective committees.

 

SEC. 3.  For the purposes of this Act an abnormal price level shall be deemed to exist whenever the price, retail and/or wholesale, of a commodity has risen to an unreasonable level considering public interest, the procurement cost of the commodity and the just and fair margin of profit which the wholesaler or retailer should realize.

 

To determine the maximum prices provided in Section 2 (1) hereof, the following factors shall be taken into account:

 

(1)      The estimated supply of the commodity available in the market;

 

(2)      The cost of production of the commodity, if locally produced, or its landed cost and the duties or taxes paid thereon if imported;

 

(3)      The cost of distribution which shall include the cost of transportation, storage or warehousing dues, rentals, management, salaries and wages; and

 

(4)      The reasonable margin of profit which should be allowed to insure a continuous supply of the commodity and/or encourage the local production thereof.

 

SEC. 4.  In order to facilitate the determination of the maximum selling prices of any commodity under price control, and the enforcement of the provisions of this Act, the President or the Price Administration Board if created, may require the assistance of officials, agents, employees, agencies or instrumentalities of the government and, where necessary, require them to act, without extra compensation, as his or its deputies and agents.

 

Such deputies, agents, officials, employees and/or agencies of the government deputized by authority of the President of the Philippines or the Board for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this Act, shall have the following powers:

 

(1)      With the written authority of the chief or head or official in charge of the price control agency in any province, city or municipality, to examine bills of lading, bills of sales, invoices, books, records and other pertinent documents owned or in the possession of any importer, producer, manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer, and for this purpose they may, upon such written authority, by subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, require any person to appear and testify or to appear and produce books, records and other documents, or both; and

 

(2)      Upon the issuance of a search warrant by a competent court, to inspect premises, bodegas, warehouses storerooms where stocks of controlled commodities or the documents and papers above referred to are kept; and in the case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum issued to any such person of the city or municipality in which such importer, wholesaler, retailer, manufacturer or producer is found or resides or transacts business, upon application, and after notice to any such person and hearing, shall have jurisdiction to issue an order requiring such person to appear and give testimony or to appear and produce books, records and other writings, or both, and any failure to obey such order of the court shall be punished by such court as contempt thereof, with a fine of not more than six hundred pesos or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.

 

SEC. 5.  Within fifteen days after the Executive Order establishing control of prices under Section 2 (1) hereof shall have taken effect, all importers, manufacturers or producers, wholesalers, and retailers with stocks worth not less than P 1,000 of the commodity or commodities under controlled prices shall file with the Agency designated by the President or the Board under Section 2 (5) hereof, or with its duly authorized representative a complete and true inventory of their stock under oath.  Thereafter, all expected or subsequent shipments of such commodities by importers shall be declared under oath to the Agency or its duly authorized representative within five days after receipt of the corresponding bills of lading and other shipping documents.  All merchandise reported as required in this Act shall be deemed offered for sale.

 

Any undeclared stock shall be considered prima facie evidence of hoarding and may be impounded by the Agency or the Board and immediately disposed of through the NAMARCO at the controlled prices thereof.  The proceeds of such sale shall be deposited with the court of justice having jurisdiction over the criminal case for violation of this section and the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.  Upon conviction of the owner or possessor of such excess stock, the said impoundage shall be considered as penalty in addition to that prescribed in Section 9 hereof, but in the event the owner or possessor accused of hoarding is found innocent, the said excess stock shall be returned to him or, if already sold, the proceeds of the sale be given to him without any deduction.

 

SEC. 6.  Importers, manufacturers or producers and wholesalers of commodities the prices of which have been placed under control shall transmit to the Agency or Board or its duly authorized representative a monthly report of their sales under oath.

 

SEC. 7.  All persons engaged in the retail sale of commodities the prices of which have been placed under control shall post in a conspicuous place in their establishment, store or stall a list of all commodities displayed and offered for sale with their corresponding prices with the corresponding quantities purchased by them and the corresponding dates of their purchase, and in addition, shall attach to said merchandise price tags in such manner as to be within the plain view of the public.

 

SEC. 8.  No importer, manufacturer or producer, wholesaler or retailer of any commodity the price of which has been placed under control shall refuse to sell any such merchandise if he has such merchandise in stock.

 

SEC. 9.  Imprisonment for a period of not less than two years nor more than ten years and/or a fine of not less than two thousand pesos nor more than ten thousand pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, during the effectivity of the Executive Order establishing control over the price of commodities:

 

(1)      sells at retail or wholesale any commodity in excess of the maximum prices established by the President of the Philippines under Section 2 (1) hereof;

 

(2)      purchases any commodity in excess of the maximum prices as provided for in the immediately preceding paragraph, unless he makes a denunciation of the act to the proper authorities within seven (7) days or unless it can be shown by satisfactory proof that the purchase was done under circumstances of compelling necessity, or in good faith;

 

(3)      refuses to sell any commodity under price control which he keeps either as an importer, manufacturer or producer, wholesaler or retailer in his establishment, store or stall, whether displayed or not;

 

(4)      having in stock merchandise the price of which is under control, shall transfer the same or make a false or fictitious sale of all or any portion thereof so as to defeat the purpose of this Act;

 

(5)       fails or refuses to file with the Agency or Board of its duly authorized representative, or inventory of his stock and/or to transmit bills of lading or bills of sale; or

 

(6)      violates any provision of this Act or any order, rule or regulation issued pursuant to the provisions of this Act:  Provided, however, That in the case of aliens, in addition to the penalty herein provided, the offender shall, upon conviction, be subject to immediate deportation without the necessity of any further proceedings on the part of the Deportation Board:  Provided, further, That if the offender is a naturalized Filipino citizen, in addition to the penalty hereinabove provided, his naturalization certificate shall be cancelled.

 

In the case of corporations, partnerships or associations, the president, managing director or manager shall be held liable under this Section.

 

In addition to the penalties prescribed above, the persons, corporations, partnerships or associations found guilty of any violation of this Act or of any order, rules or regulations issued pursuant to its provisions shall be barred from the wholesale and retail business for a period of five years for the first offense, and shall be permanently barred for the second offense; and in the case of importers, as additional penalty, they shall be placed on the blacklist of the Central Bank and their import license shall immediately be revoked.

 

In case the violations is committed by, or in the interest of a foreign juridical person duly licensed to engage in business in the Philippines, such license to engage in business in the Philippines shall immediately be revoked.

 

Any government officer or employee, who, by neglect or connivance, has enabled an importer, wholesaler, retailer or any person who has the above described commodities in his control or possession, to hide or transfer his stock, or has in any manner aided or abetted in the violation or circumvention of the provisions of this Act, shall be held criminally liable as co-principal under this section and shall, in addition, suffer the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification to hold public office.  Any government officer or employee who shall use the powers vested upon him by this law or by rules and regulations pursuant thereto, to obtain money, benefit or anything of value, or being duly authorized by the Agency or Board to act as its agent, shall divulge to any person, or make known in any other manner than may be authorized by law, any information regarding the income, method of operation or other confidential information regarding the business of any person, association or corporation, knowledge of which was acquired by him in the course of the discharge of his official duties, shall be punished by both a fine of not less than five hundred pesos nor more than five thousand pesos and imprisonment of not less than two years nor more than five years.

 

The failure or refusal on the part of the seller of any commodity to issue the corresponding serially-numbered receipt or invoice required to be issued to the purchaser under existing law, rules or regulations, shall be prima facie evidence that the commodity was sold in excess of the authorized maximum selling price.

 

SEC. 10.  If any provision of this Act or the applicability of such provision to any person or circumstance shall be held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this Act and the applicability of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

 

SEC. 11.  The sum of three hundred thousand pesos or so much thereof as may be necessary is hereby appropriated out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated to carry out the provisions of this Act.

 

SEC. 12.  The orders, rules and regulations that may be promulgated by the President pursuant to the provisions of this Act shall take effect fifteen days after their publication once a week for two consecutive weeks in at least two newspapers, one in English and another in the National Language, of general circulation in the Philippines and fifteen days after the same has been posted at the entrance of the City Hall or municipal building of each city, municipality or municipal district in English and in the local dialect.  This Act shall be in force until December 31, 1960 unless extended or sooner terminated by concurrent resolution of Congress:  Provided, however, That any extension of the effectivity of this Act as above provided for may be terminated at any time also by concurrent resolution of Congress.  The orders, rules or regulations promulgated by the President pursuant to the provisions of this Act shall continue to be in force until terminated by Presidential proclamation or by concurrent resolution of Congress, but in no case to extend beyond the effectivity of this Act:  Provided, further, That convictions rendered under this Act or under the duly promulgated orders, rules or regulations issued pursuant thereto shall remain valid and enforceable, and prosecutions of offenses committed during the effectivity thereof shall continue and shall not be barred until terminated by conviction or acquittal of the accused.

 

SEC. 13.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

Approved, July 16, 1959

 

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