DTI warns establishments manipulating face mask prices

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2020   •   1831

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) warned establishments manipulating face mask prices amid high demand due to the high activity in Taal Volcano.

DTI Usec. Ruth Castelo said that if proven guilty of price manipulation, the establishment would have to pay a penalty up to P2 million.

This is aside from a possible suspension or revocation of their business permit.

“Profiteering is an illegal act of price manipulation under the price act, ranging from 5,000 pesos to 2 million pesos. When found to really committed profiteering, we can impose the highest penalty of 2 million,” she said.

There are 12 medical supplies stores out of the 17 inspected establishments in Bambang, Manila that are facing complaints for violating the Price Act.

The complaint is for selling overpriced surgical face masks and N95 masks.

READ: DOH orders price control on medical supplies in areas affected by Taal eruption

The Department of Health (DOH) implemented price freeze on essential medicines and medical supplies in areas affected by the Taal eruption.

Authorities also advise the public to immediately report stores and establishments that are manipulating their prices through DTI hotline: 1-384.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Pangambang sumabog ang Mt. Taal matapos ang malakas na lindol sa Batangas, pinawi ng Phivolcs

Robie de Guzman   •   December 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pinawi ng Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) ang pangamba hinggil sa muling pagsabog ng bulkang Taal kasunod ng magnitude 6.3 na lindol na yumanig sa Calatagan, Batangas pasado alas-7 Biyernes ng umaga.

Ayon kay PHIVOLCS director, Undersecretary Renato Solidum, maliit ang posibilidad na magkaroon ng epekto sa bulkan ang malakas na lindol bagaman patuloy pa nila itong inoobserbahan.

Binigyang-diin rin ni Solidum na sumabog na ang bulkan ngayong taon at malalim ang naramdamang lindol kaninang umaga.

Siguro pagdating doon sa fault baka wala, kasi hindi naman ito ganoon kalaki at malalim siya masyado. Pero pagdating sa Taal Volcano, kasi katatapos lang ng kanyang eruption, oobserbahan natin kung may epekto talaga ito,” ang pahayag ni Solidum.

“Titingnan natin kung magre-react ang Taal Volcano, pero dapat nating maaalala, matandaan, na nasa alert level 1 pa lang naman siya,” dagdag pa niya.

Magugunitang noong buwan ng Enero 2020 ay itinaas sa alert level 4 ang Taal matapos itong magbuga ng abo.

Sa ngayon ay nasa alert level 1 ang bulkan na ang ibig sabihin ay bahagyang pagtaas ng volcanic activity gaya ng gas o steam emission at mga pagyanig. Ipinagbabawal din ang pagpasok sa permanent danger zone ng bulkan.

Paliwanag ng ahensiya, gumalaw ang Manila trench kaya’t naramdaman ang pagyanig sa Metro Manila.

Tiniyak din ng PHIVOLCS na walang direktang epekto ang lindol sa Batangas sa West Valley Fault.

Bukod sa Metro Manila, Batangas at Laguna, naramdaman rin ang lindol sa ilang bahagi ng Rizal at Northern Luzon.

DA, DTI open digital farm-to-market system connecting farmers, consumers

Robie de Guzman   •   December 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA), together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has launched a digital marketing system that seeks to directly connect food producers to consumers sans the unnecessary trading layers.

The DA said the system called Deliver-E, which was officially launched on December 14, was conceived in collaboration with private sector partners, farmer cooperatives, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The initiative allows buyers to directly access fresh agricultural products and other basic food items at low prices, eliminating middlemen.

The department said Deliver-E operates through a blockchain technology developed by a Filipino tech startup, Insight Supply Chain Solutions (InsightSCS), that integrates related e-commerce and logistics application services from consolidation point to central warehousing facility, and then to last-mile delivery services to reach end-clients.

“With the sheer size of agricultural supply chains, only a multi-stakeholder approach to their management could free up the bottlenecks,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement.

The system’s launch was highlighted by a multi-stakeholder commitment pledge signing to upscale the agriculture value chain and improve overall food security in the country even beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

“Online is the new byword of food security. We are fully embracing the digitalization of the agriculture sector as we journey towards the 4th Industrial Revolution, or Agriculture 4.0,” Dar said.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, for his part, said the initiative is part of government’s strategy to enable Filipinos to adjust to the new normal.

“Let us try to create a Better Normal where all Filipinos can enjoy the fruits of our country’s inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all,” he said.

DTI to craft guidelines on senior citizen, PWD discounts for online purchases

Marje Pelayo   •   December 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Complaints are piling up with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) regarding persons with disability (PWDs) who are not being given discounts from transactions made online particularly through a third party delivery service.

However, they do get discounts when booking directly with the restaurant or through the fast food chain’s website or app.

“Sa mga third party na wala naman silang kinalaman sa mga tindahan mismo ay nagkakaproblema tayo (It is the third party — that has nothing to do with the merchants in the first place — that we are having problems with),” NCDA Executive Director Emer Rojas said.

This is one of the challenges facing the PWD community since the start of quarantine restrictions in the country when most establishments limit physical transactions due to the risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

Given the limitations on their movement and the threat of infection, PWDs are very much dependent on online transactions to purchase basic necessities. 

Atty. Vic Dimagiba of Laban Konsyumer agrees that a set of guidelines addressing the matter must be crafted .

“Kailangan ng implementing guidelines para ang mga senior citizen at persons with disability ay makapag avail ng kanilang senior citizens discount and privileges kapag online shopping (An implementing guideline for senior citizens and PWDs is necessary so they can avail of discounts and privileges when shopping online),” he said.

For its part, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is planning a consultation with stakeholders in order to craft a mechanism that will entitle senior citizens and PWDs to discounts even from third parties.

“In the meantime, iyong mga consumers natin na senior or persons with disability baka pwede silang dumeretso muna sa merchant para makabili sila ng kanilang kailangan (consumers who are senior citizens and PWDs may purchase directly from merchants for their needs) instead of passing through a third party operator to make sure na makakakuha sila ng discount (that they will get a discount), said USec. Ruth Castelo of DTI.

The NCDA is appealing to third party operators to acknowledge or honor the PWD ID even if they are presented electronically so they can at least save some amount from the transaction.

Doon sa mga third party kung mapapakita na yung ID at maipakita sa cellphone yung ID ay dapat i-honor na naman nila (Third parties should honor IDs presented to them),” Rojas said.

Pagka deliver niyan makikita rin noong third party delivery services kung iyong umorder ay siya o kung halimbawa iyong may kapansanan ay hindi makalabas ng bahay siguro naman nandoon siya sa bintana at pwede siyang magpakita ( Upon delivery, the third party delivery service would be able to tell anyway if the person who placed the order is a person with disability. If unable to come out, the PWD can just go to the window),” he added.

The NCDA noted that a 32% discount in goods and services is a huge help for senior citizens and PWDs. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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