MANILA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday warned businessmen against increasing the prices of basic commodities in earthquake-hit provinces.
Aquino flew to central Philippine provinces of Bohol and Cebu to personally assure the residents there that the national government would be ready to assist them to rebuild their lives after the devastation brought by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit the areas Tuesday morning.
"Reminder... once a state of calamity is declared, there are price controls. You mark it up, you are in violation, and there will be sanctions," he said, adding, "I assure you, we will be monitoring everybody's compliance with the said law."
Both Bohol and Cebu have been placed under a state of calamity following the devastation wrought by the earthquake.
The president assured the people in the two provinces that the government has "sufficient funds" to help them.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said some residents were concerned about the petroleum supply, and some residents had already started to buy more than they usually do. He said supply could still be increased by using other ports to deliver petroleum.
Roxas said the Philippine National Police had already been tapped to provide security to several commercial establishments that have opened to accommodate those who are looking for goods.
The latest report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that death toll due to the jolt soared to 144, most of which came from Bohol.