DTI penalizes malpractising businesses

DTI says there is no reported price increase in the basic commodities in calamity affected areas of Southern Palawan. (file photo)

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Palawan has penalized five  business establishments in Palawan for violating the product standards set by the department.

Rosenda Fortunado, Provincial Director of DTI said three business establishments in Puerto Princesa City, one in Taytay and one in El Nido were penalized P17, 500.00 each, as a first offense penalty, after the DTI monitoring team from Manila conducted an inspection.

According to Fortunado, these business establishments were involved in unfair trade practices stipulated in the Consumer Protection Act.

She, however, did not name the business establishments that were penalized because DTI has given them the chance to correct their refractions.

“When we went back to the store compliant na rin naman sila. Kaya most of the cases here nako-close naman within the month. In fairness naman sa mga negosyante natin dito, mga cooperative naman sila. Hindi naman mga pasaway na todo-todo,” Fortunado said.

Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act,  gives the DTI jurisdiction to ensure that the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities are at reasonable levels; and of Republic Act No. 71 or the Price Tag Law, which requires that all consumer products sold in retail to the public shall have appropriate price tag, label, or marking indicating their prices and shall not be sold at a higher price than that stated on the price tag.

Both laws protect consumers from illegal acts of price manipulation, such as hoarding, profiteering, and cartel.

DTI-FTEB Director-in-Charge Ferdinand Manfoste elaborated that manufacturers and retailers who sold basic necessities and prime commodities at undue prices and without price tags were issued with Show Cause Orders (SCOs) and directed to explain before the DTI in 48 hours.

Manfoste also said that those products without Philippine Standard (PS) and Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) marks and the required labeling according to their relevant Philippine National Standards (PNS) were confiscated during their monitoring. The manufacturers, importers, and distributors who sold such were issued then with NOVs.

Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) Officer-in-Charge Atty. Ernesto V. Perez said that as stated in Republic Act No. 4109 or the Standards Law, the distribution or sale of any product that does not conform to the BPS Product Certification Scheme and required and applicable PNS quality or safety standards and tests is prohibited.

There are 72 products under the BPS Product Certification Scheme, and these are classified into three groups, namely: Electrical and Electronic Products, Mechanical/Building and Construction Materials, and Chemical and other Consumer Products.

“The DTI encourages our manufacturers, importers, and distributors to sell only those critical products that passed quality and safety tests. More so, the presence of the required labeling and PS and ICC marks indicates that their products are reliable and safe for use,” Atty. Perez added.

Further, DTI-Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Atty. Teodoro C. Pascua ensured that the DTI will pursue and boost its price monitoring and standards enforcement efforts.

“Our consumers can rely on the department’s commitment to close monitoring of the prices in our supermarkets and grocery stores. Rest assured that we act on sudden, unusual price movements and ensure competition in the market to give our consumers more choices,” said Usec. Pascua.

To avoid compromising consumers’ safety, Pascua also affirmed that the department goes after and cracks down establishments that sell uncertified, inferior, or substandard products.

The FTEB’s Surveillance and Monitoring Division monitors the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities and the compliance with the Fair Trade Laws (FTLs) of businesses. The bureau’s Product Standards Monitoring Division, on the other hand, checks the compliance with the relevant standards of those products under mandatory certification. The FTEB also work closely with the DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG), especially for provincial and regional areas.

This is to ensure that the Price Act (Republic Act No. 7581), Price Tag (Republic Act No. 71), Products Standards (Republic Act No. 4109), Labeling (Article 77 of Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines), Service and Repair Shops (Presidential Decree 1572), and other FTLs are strictly enforced and observed in the market.

For more information about the recent monitoring and enforcement activities of the DTI, you may call DTI Direct 751.3330, text DTI Mobile 0917.8343330, or send an e-mail to FTEB@dti.gov.ph. For the list of products under the BPS Product Certification Scheme, visit the BPS Standards and Conformance Portal.

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