DTI urges consumers: Report erring retailers

By Victor Anthony V. Silva |September 22,2016 - 09:13 PM

Consumers are encouraged to report to the Department of Trade and Industry in Central Visayas (DTI-7) retailers that sell beyond the set price ceiling of basic commodities in the region.

Zaide Bation, DTI Cebu Consumer Welfare division chief, made the call yesterday with the start of the enforcement of the recently issued price freeze of basic commodities throughout the region.

“They can call DTI’s consumer welfare division to report so we can conduct an investigation,” Bation said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, price control for basic necessities would be automatic following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a state of national emergency last Sept. 5.

According to the law, a price freeze is automatically implemented as a measure to prevent overpricing of goods during times of calamity or emergency.

Bation said the price freeze did not immediately take effect in Cebu as DTI-7 had yet to collate data on prevailing prices across the region.

The list of prices for basic goods set by DTI was published on Cebu Daily News on Wednesday.

She said the measure would last 60 days from publication of the order or until the declaration of state of national emergency would be lifted by the President.

Bation also reminded retailers to comply with the price freeze as those found selling above the listed prevailing prices would be fined up to P1 million or imprisoned for a maximum of 10 years under the Price Act.

“Even if they just sell for one centavo more, if found guilty after an investigation, they will really be fined,” said Bation.

Among the goods covered by the price freeze are canned sardines, processed milk, coffee, instant noodles, laundry soap, detergent and bottled water.

Based on the list of products and prices published by DTI in Cebu, the ceiling of some of products such as canned sardines is set from P12 to P13.50 per 155 grams, which varies by brand; and for condensed milk the price is set from P53 to P66; P38.25 to P52.75 for evaporated milk; and P44.15 to 57.25 for powder filled milk.

The DTI clarified that these were not suggested retail prices but price ceilings.

Bation said the DTI would continue to monitor the price behavior of products not included on the list.

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