DTI checks retailers in bus stations on SRP compliance

MANILA (PNA) — The Department of Trade and Industry’s Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG) conducted its rounds Friday in bus stations and nearby supermarkets and grocery stores as the country’s observation of the Holy Week nears and many Filipinos are expected to go on trips to their hometowns in the provinces.

The DTI preps up its monitoring teams from the Fair Trade and Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) to particularly check on the products under the list of basic necessities and prime commodities which are commonly used during the travels.

DTI-CPG Undersecretary Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba asserts, “We will ensure that the prices of canned goods and candles in public places of assemblies for trips such as bus stations are being sold within their suggested retail prices (SRPs).”

“We are aware that retailers in bus stations particularly add more on their prices of bottled water and we understand that this is business for them, yet the Department stresses that their prices need not to be too high and that such tolerance is limited,” he added.

Although packs and cans of biscuits and cup noodles are not in the basic and prime goods’ list, we will also be checking on the affordability and reasonableness of their prices,” said DTI Undersecretary Dimagiba.

Simultaneously, the DTI will inspect the grocery stores and supermarkets and check on the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities.

Dimagiba said, “The Department prompts owners and operators of said establishments to consistently comply with the specified SRPs for basic and prime goods and assist the consumers in their purchases.”

“The January list of SRPs on these products still stands and as of the moment, there are no requests for price adjustments from the industries, to which the retailers are expected to observe these prices,” he added.

The DTI, through its FTEB, conducts regular monitoring activities on the price and supply of basic necessities and prime commodities under its jurisdiction. These products include: basic – canned fish and other marine products, processed milk, coffee, laundry soap, detergent, candles, bread, salt, potable water in bottles and containers, and, locally-manufactured instant noodles; prime – flour, processed and canned pork, processed and canned beef and poultry meat, vinegar, patis, soy sauce, toilet soap, paper, school supplies, cement, clinker, Galvanized iron (GI) sheets, hollow blocks, construction supplies, batteries, electrical supplies, light bulbs, and, steel wires.

Upon evaluation, if a retailer is found executing illegal acts of price manipulation such as profiteering, which is a violation of the Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, they shall face an administrative fine of up to Php1.00 million subject to the circumstances provided after due notice and hearing. They can also be criminally liable for illegal price manipulation that may result to imprisonment of not more than 15 years and a maximum fine of P2,000,000.00.

SRPs are issued by manufacturers to retailers to ensure market share and fair competition in the market. Production cost, distribution cost, and profit margins of retailers and distributors are factored in. Consumer can access the list of SRPs for basic necessities and prime commodities at www.dti.gov.ph. Consumers can report any complaint on prices to DTI Direct 751-3330 and 0917-8343330.

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