DTI to allow mall-wide sales to revive economy amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2020   •   432

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will once again allow the conduct of mall-wide sales to draw more shoppers as part of government efforts to revive the country’s economy amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the move aims to encourage more customers to visit malls following the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) decision to ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and allow more people to leave their homes.

“Payagan ulit natin para restimulate ulit ang dami ng tao sa mall dahil nakita natin as we reopen hindi pa ganun kadami yung mga nagpupunta sa mall,” he said.

“Isang panghikayat ulit para sumigla ang ekonomiya ay payagan natin ang paggawa ng mall-wide sale o whether sa isang tindahan,” he added.

The DTI earlier said around 95% of sectors have been allowed to resume operations amid the pandemic, provided that they implement strict observance of health protocols in light of the COVID-19 threat.

Mall operators, for their part, assured they will continue to follow health protocols for commercial establishments to ensure the safety of their customers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)



SB Corp to process additional 15K small firms’ loan applications by December – DTI

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez announced that Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) will process an additional 15,000 loan applications before the year ends to help in the recovery of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“With the improvement in our evaluation and approval system, we are now able to increase our evaluation capacity to around 15,000 in a month. We have facilitated the processing to accommodate more MSMEs affected by the pandemic. We expect to release more loans to help businesses recover, especially as we gradually reopen the economy,” Lopez said in a statement.

Lopez said that since the passage of Republic Act 11469, also known as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, SB Corp has approved a total of 17,167 loan applications amounting to P1.25 billion through its Bayanihan COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises program. 

SP Corp is the financing arm of the DTI.

At the Senate hearing of the Department’s budget on November 18, budget sponsor Senator Sonny Angara said that the Department of Budget and Management has already released to SB Corp a total of P8 billion of the P10 billion for MSMEs loans pursuant to the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

It was also clarified during the hearing that the fund has no expiration date since it is for the equity of SB Corp.

“As we gradually reopen our economy, we’ve already seen signs of recovery. 95% of businesses have already reopened as of end-October, coming from 62% last June at the height of the lockdown,” Lopez said. 

“While there are good signs of recovery, we are not yet hitting pre-COVID levels, and understandably so, due to reluctance of some people to go out. In addition, there are still restrictions in some sectors, such as age, in the movement of people and curfew hours,” he added. 

The trade chief noted that hard-hit sectors during the pandemic include tourism, transportation, entertainment, retail, and other non-essential sectors. 

“If we want to accelerate the recovery of our economy, we need to build consumer confidence and save MSMEs from bankruptcy to retain jobs and sources of income. With more income, this means more spending, which will boost demand and economic activity,” Lopez said. 

No price hike for holiday products — DTI

Marje Pelayo   •   November 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Despite appeals for price increase by manufacturers ahead of the holiday festivities, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) stressed that no price hike will be imposed on holiday products.

“It is safe to say na halos lahat po ng produkto ay hindi po nagtaas ng presyo compared to 2019 (It is safe to say that almost all [holiday] products did not impose a mark up compared to 2019),” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez in an interview.

“Nag-agree po sila na wala munang price increase dito sa mga (They agreed not to impose a price increase for now on) noche buena products,” he added referring to manufacturers.

Manufacturers of several holiday products have been asking for a mark up of 3% to 5%, citing increase in prices of raw materials.

But after negotiating with the DTI, they agreed not to impose price hikes in consideration of the crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Kung sa meat products, iyong mga hamon, sila ang mga unang nagsabi na hindi na sila magtataas. Ito po ay alangalang sa mga kababayan natin dahil sa pandemya (The [manufacturers] of meat products like holiday hams were the first ones to declare that they’re not increasing prices. It is out of consideration for consumers due to the pandemic), they are absorbing the cost,” Lopez said.

The DTI is expected to release on Wednesday (November 11) the complete list of holiday items under the new suggested retail price (SRP). MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Duterte orders DOH, DTI to impose price range for COVID-19 tests

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday directed the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to set a price ceiling on tests for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Under Executive Order (EO) No. 118, Duterte ordered the DOH and DTI to determine, formulate, and implement a price range for COVID-19 testing being conducted by hospitals, health establishments, facilities, and laboratories, subject to existing laws, rules, and regulations.

“The DOH and the DTI shall ensure that the price range for COVID-19 testing and test kits is just, equitable and sensitive to all stakeholders,” the order read.

The EO also stated that compliance with the price range shall “form part of the standards and requirements for the licensing and accreditation of hospitals, laboratories, and other health establishments and facilities as COVID-19 testing centers.”

“Failure to comply therewith may be considered as a ground for the revocation of existing licenses or accreditation,” it added.

The DOH and the DTI were also tasked to undertake “continuous monitoring and review of the prices and market supply of COVID-19 test kits and other basic medical items and supplies, and issue such price control measures and adjustments as may be necessary, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 7581, as amended.”

Duterte also ordered the DOH to institute measures to ensure that all accredited COVID-19 laboratories will observe transparency in the pricing of tests and that the public is fully informed of the component costs of medical services and procedures relating to COVID-19.

Both the DOH and the DTI have pushed for the imposition of a price cap on COVID-19 swab testing following observation on differences in the testing cost in various laboratories and hospitals in the country.

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