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08 November 2022 – Following the declaration of state of calamity in “Paeng”-hit Calabarzon, the Department of Trade and Industry – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB), keeps close watch over the price and supply of basic necessities amidst the automatic price freeze in Rizal.
The said monitoring operation is pursuant to Section 6 of the Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, prices in an area or under a state of calamity or under an emergency shall be automatically frozen at their prevailing prices for a period of 60 days unless sooner lifted by the President.
Last 02 November, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed Proclamation No. 84 declaring a state of calamity in Regions IV-A (Calabarzon), V (Bicol), VI (Western Visayas), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), due to the damages brought by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng.
With this proclamation, automatic price freeze measures shall apply to the basic necessities being sold in areas under state of calamity, including the Rizal Province.
Consequently, Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Officer-In-Charge Atty. Ann Claire C. Cabochan led the DTI monitoring teams in checking the price and supply of basic necessities in ten (10) supermarkets in Taytay, Rizal.
Aside from monitoring basic necessities declared to be under the price freeze, the DTI teams also monitored the price and supply of prime commodities based on the Suggested Retail Prices (SRP) bulletin, released last 12 August 2022.
Out of the 10 monitored supermarkets, eight (8) are compliant. Meanwhile, two (2) supermarkets were issued with a Notice of Violation (NOV) for selling basic necessities priced above the frozen prevailing price and for selling items without proper price tags.
As part of the due process, the representative of the stores was given 48 hours to provide an explanation related to the findings of noncompliance.
“The DTI’s relentless price and supply monitoring operations is a strong warning against possible profiteers and hoarders and an assurance to our countrymen that we will continue to uphold consumer protection amidst the damages caused by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng,” Asec. Atty. Cabochan underscored.
The monitoring teams also noted that one (1) of the monitored supermarkets does not carry any sardines, powdered milk, and laundry bars listed in the latest SRP bulletin. Asec. Atty. Cabochan thus reiterated the importance of carrying shelf keeping units (SKUs) listed in the SRP bulletin to provide consumers with a wide range of quality and reasonably-priced products.
The DTI-FTEB conducts weekly monitoring of the price and supply of basic necessities such as, but not limited to, canned sardines, processed milk, powdered milk, coffee, bread, instant noodles, salt, detergent soap, bottled water, and candles; and prime commodities such as, but not limited to, canned meat, vinegar, patis, soy sauce, toilet soap, batteries, flour, cement, hollow blocks, construction nails, light bulbs, electrical supplies, and steel wires.
Asec. Atty. Cabochan also spearheaded the enforcement operation among retail firms in Taytay, Rizal, which led to the crackdown on uncertified products worth Php368,519.00.
Out of the 32 firms inspected, nine (9) were issued with an NOV for selling uncertified ceramic plumbing fixtures (sanitary wares), low carbon steel wires, snap switches, socket-outlets, self-ballasted LED lamps, snap switches, electric grills, and tires for automotive vehicles.
From January to October 2022, DTI has already monitored 2,085 retail firms thereby sealing 213,212 pieces of non-conforming products with an estimated retail value of Php64,768,851.49.
To protect consumers or potential buyers of electrical and electronic products; mechanical or building and construction materials; and chemical and other consumer products and systems, the DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) regulates 87 products and systems through implementing Mandatory Product Certification Schemes: the Philippine Standard (PS) Quality and/or Safety Certification Mark Licensing Scheme and the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) Certification Scheme.
The DTI urges consumers to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities above their prevailing prices through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or email@example.com. END