DTI intensifies price monitoring on food, school supplies

Published May 30, 2018, 9:01 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Philippine News Agency

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez on Tuesday said the department has intensified its monitoring of hundreds of gasoline stations and commercial establishments amid the hiked prices in fuel, which could take a toll on prices of basic commodities and school supplies.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez (ALBERT ALCAIN/PPD / MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez (ALBERT ALCAIN/PPD / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a media interview during the DTI-led “Pack! Pinas” third pilot run with some micro, small and medium entrepreneurs at the San Lazaro Leisure Park conference hall here, Lopez said DTI roving teams have been mobilized for the price monitoring and inspections in stores and supermarkets to ensure compliance with the standard retail price (SRP).

“Sa utos ng Pangulo (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) nung Sabado, pinaigting po natin ang monitoring. (Upon President Rodrigo Duterte’s order last Saturday, we have intensified our monitoring). We have been monitoring over hundreds of stores every week, so every day we monitor them,” Lopez said.

He said that “the stores are behaving and comply with the standard retail price (SRP)” as of Monday’s monitoring, where he and the DTI teams have spotted a peso to two pesos below SRP tags.

“May mga tindahan gusto nila ipakita na mura (There are stores who want to show and offer cheaper prices) and they are attracting consumers and customers to avail of these lower prices, and that’s their positioning and are really selling below SRP,” he said.

He said that they are advising the public and consumers to avail of the reduced prices from the SRP on basic and prime commodities, bread, condiments like soy sauce and vinegar, and all canned sardines that are offered by groceries and supermarkets.

He said they are also monitoring food supplies and found commercial outlets to be compliant with the SRP although there is one they found violating the pricing standard – especially for school supplies as the establishment apparently was not aware of the SRP.

“Sabi nila, kararating lang sa delivery at nilalagay nila at wala pang price tag (They told us that these (goods) were delivered only now and do not yet bear the price tag), and when they put the price tag, we called their attention because the price was higher than the SRP, but they also immediately corrected it,” he said.

He said however, that they are not imposing any penalty yet because the monitoring team found out the stores committed honest mistakes.

In such incidents, he said, when the labels are showing violations of the SRP, the DTI first issues “show cause order” why they should not be penalized and explain under the policy on due process.

“Pag ayaw pa rin nila baguhin (If they would still refuse to lower the price from the SRP), then that’s the time we will penalize them,” he warned.

He explained that DTI normally requires one notice and they have to correct – for instance in a case they have spotted yesterday in one of their price inspections at a retail store – otherwise the store will receive a notice of violation with the corresponding penalty.

“We are also computing the justifiable increase, so the computation will be based on the movement of prices in the petroleum market as well as other factors like the hike prices in the tin plate in the world market and arrived at an average of 50 centavos mark up which stores have to comply with,” he said.

The DTI secretary was guest of honor and speaker at the opening rites and exhibits of the third pilot run of “Pack! Pinas” for Luzon offering seminars, mentoring and exhibition events for MSMEs in the Calabarzon Region comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon themed “Panalong Packaging Para Sa Lahat” at the San Lazaro Leisure Park conference hall here.