DTI limits quantity of basic goods consumers can buy
CEBU CITY—To ensure stable prices and availability of vital and essential commodities, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has set a limit on the quantity of basic goods consumers can buy.
DTI issued Memorandum Circular 20-07 provides measures to prevent unreasonable increase in the prices of all basic necessities and to ensure availability of vital and essential commodities especially during the duration of Public Health Emergency.
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“While ensuring the availability of essential goods in the market offered at reasonable prices, especially during times of calamity or emergency, is one of the duties of government, this is also a shared responsibility with businesses and consumers,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez pointed out in news release posted on the DTI Philippines website.
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“As citizens of this country, it is our social responsibility and moral duty to protect each other’s interests in this time of need. We call on the cooperation of each and every one as our nation faces and addresses the effects of COVID-19,” he added.
The memorandum enjoins retailers to sell and consumers to buy basic goods and prime commodities only at the quantity set by DTI, which would be enough to meet their needs only for a maximum of seven days.
Retailers are required to post notices in conspicuous places within their stores/branches informing the consumers of the quantity of basic necessities that they are allowed to purchase.
Also, retailers are mandated to ensure that these goods are sold at their latest prevailing prices prior the declaration of a State of Calamity for sixty days or until 15 May 2020. No price increase shall be allowed within this period.
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There are 12 products included in the list covered by the memorandum. These are alcohol 70 percent solution, hand sanitizer, disinfecting liquids, bath soap, toilet paper, face masks, local produced instant noodles, locally produced canned sardines, canned regular milk, powdered milk, coffee in sachet, mineral water and loaf bread.
Any person or entity found to have violated or committed an illegal act of price manipulation, particularly hoarding, may face a fine ranging between P5,000 and P2 million and imprisonment of not less than five years up to 15 years. This is without prejudice to the prescribed penalties and sanctions in relevant ordinances issued by the local government units, according to DTI.
The memorandum circular, which took effect upon its issuance on March 19, 2020, will be applicable during the entire period of Public Health Emergency.
DTI urges consumers to report any individual or retailer that do not comply with the provisions of the memorandum circular on anti-hoarding and anti-panic buying by calling the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or sending an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph. /dbs
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