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Sunday, May 26, 2024

DTI conducts random price check on school supplies at Divisoria shops

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PRICE CHECK. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual conducts a random monitoring of school supplies and rice prices at a retail hub in Divisoria, Manila. Norman Cruz

Following  the recent release of the latest “Gabay sa Pamimili ng School Supplies” project, along with the Department of Education’s (DepEd) “Balik Eskwela” program, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) rolled out price check on school supplies in Divisoria, Manila to determine if the rates were within the government’s suggested retail price (SRP).

“We conducted an intensified price monitoring for school supplies to make sure that establishments are following the price guide we issued last month. We want to make sure that parents who will come here to buy school supplies for their children in preparation for the upcoming school year will not fall victims of profiteering and other unjust sales practices,” said Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

The surprise monitoring, led by the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), found that 22 of the 23 stores inspected conformed with the price guide. One retail store was singled out for selling an item at a price higher than the SRP.

The DTI demanded a written explanation from the store within three days from receipt of the letter.

The random price monitoring was part of a nationwide campaign to enjoin retailers to comply with price guide.

The DTI, in collaboration with the Agriculture department, was also monitoring the prices of rice following reports of overpricing.

Based on the Price Act, the DTI and other implementing agencies, such as the Departments of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Health, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Energy check on the prices to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) at reasonable prices at all times without denying legitimate businesses a fair return on investment

Other than prices, the DTI also inspected school supplies’ conformance with the Philippine National Standards (PNS), particularly on product specifications for office and school supplies that provide safety and quality requirements of certain products to ensure reliability and safe usage, and compliance with other Fair Trade Laws (FTLs).

The DTI  likewise inspected the school supplies’ product specifications, markings, and labels.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on the other hand, conducted “test-buy” of some school supplies, such as crayons and watercolors, which will be subjected to further analysis for traces of toxic chemical compounds that are harmful to children.

According to the Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7394), manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers would be liable for damages caused to consumers by defective and unsafe products as well as for insufficient or inadequate information on the use and hazards.

The DTI continues its campaign against uncertified items in the market, including the enforcement of technical regulations mandating compliance with Philippine Standard Certification Mark Schemes, particularly Department Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 2007.

It urges consumers to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities above the SRPs or uncertified items.

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