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Freeman Cebu Business

DTI to penalize erring suppliers, retailers of construction materials

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) said it will penalize retailers, suppliers and distributors of construction materials who sell their products above the prevailing price.

DTI-7 regional director Maria Elena Arbon said her office will not hesitate to penalize suppliers who sell construction materials above the prevailing prices at the onset of Typhoon Odette or hoard their stocks beyond their normal inventory levels.

According to Arbon, DTI Cebu Provincial Office is also deploying its enforcers and if necessary will tap the assistance of the PNP (Philippine National Police).

On January 7, 2022, DTI Cebu’s monitoring team reached as far as Toledo City and San Remigio, wherein they noted a decreasing supply of GI sheets, umbrella nails and plywood. 

The DTI monitoring team members were informed that there was yet no delivery from suppliers as of the time of their visit. Retailers had to line up and get stocks at stores in Cebu City and Mandaue City, the DTI team observed.

DTI has intensified its monitoring and enforcement activities in various business establishments across Central Visayas to better protect consumers from unfair trade practices.

Arbon reiterated her warning to manufacturers and retailers who sold basic necessities and prime commodities at undue prices and without price tags that they will be issued Show Cause Orders (SCOs) and directed to explain before the DTI in 48 hours.

“And if we do not receive any response or explanation from the manufacturers and retailers,” Arbon said, “the department will issue a Formal Charge with Cease and Desist Order, and providing for a penalty.”

Doing so is pursuant to Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, which 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.

“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,” Arbon said.

It is the policy of the government to make certain the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at reasonable prices at all times without denying legitimate businesses a fair return of investment. It also provides effective protection to consumers against illegal price spikes.

The Central Visayas office of the DTI said construction materials like cement, galvanized iron (GI) sheets, hollow blocks, construction nails, batteries, electrical wires, light bulbs, and steel wires are part of the prime commodities being monitored by the DTI, saying that “retailers should not take advantage of consumers in a crisis.”

The department continues to appeal to the public to be vigilant and report retailers' unconscionable acts to the following offices: CEBU- 09178188419 or DTI Cebu FB page; BOHOL - (038) 5018260 or DTI Bohol FB page; SIQUIJOR- (035) 4809065 or DTI Siquijor FB page; NEGROS ORIENTAL- 0917-300-5811 or DTI Negros Oriental FB Page.

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