DTI’s ‘Sweeptember’ targets violators of fair trade laws in NCR

As the rainy season peaks in September, the Department of Trade and Industry – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau has launched “Sweeptember” in the National Capital Region to ensure the stable prices and supply of basic necessities and prime commodities.

FTEB Officer-In-Charge Director Atty. Marimel Dancel Porciuncula and FTEB OIC Assistant Director Atty. Joseph Manuel P. Pamittan led the DTI monitoring teams in inspecting the price and supply of BNPCs carried by 76 retail firms within Pasig, Parañaque, Malabon, and Quezon City.

The DTI noted that out of the 76 inspected retail firms, 70 are compliant with the Suggested Retail Price bulletin released last 12 August 2022, which translates to over 92 percent SRP compliance rate in the NCR.

However, six establishments were issued a Letter of Inquiry for selling items priced higher than the SRP. The stores have to submit a written explanation within 72 hours from the receipt of the letter. To date, four out of the six have already submitted their written explanation.

The DTI also issued a Show Cause Order to 51 retail firms for apparently selling BNPCs priced more than 10 percent higher than the preceding month, and without or with an inconsistent price tag. The SCO gives them 48 hours from receipt to submit a written explanation.

“The launch of the “Sweeptember” initiative is a step ahead of the price movement that the rainy season might cause to ensure that only quality and reasonably-priced products will be available for our consumers,” Porciuncula underscored.

Meanwhile, Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo commended the cities with firms that have shown adherence to the SRP bulletin, which gives consumers the freedom to choose products they can afford.

“We encourage sellers and manufacturers to comply with the SRP bulletin as such informs and protects consumers from deceptive or unconscionable transactions,” Castelo said.

Republic Act No. 7581 as amended by R.A. 10623, or the Price Act, gives the DTI and other implementing agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of Energy the mandate to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at reasonable prices at all times without denying legitimate businesses a fair return on investment.

The DTI-FTEB weekly monitors the price and supply of basic necessities such as, but not limited to, canned sardines, processed milk, powdered milk, coffee, bread, instant noodles, salt, detergent soap, bottled water, and candles; and prime commodities such as, but not limited to, canned meat, vinegar, patis, soy sauce, toilet soap, paper, school supplies, batteries, flour, cement, G.I. Sheets, hollow blocks, construction nails, light bulbs, electrical supplies, and steel wires.

The DTI enjoins consumers to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities above their SRPs through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or consumercare@dti.gov.ph.

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