DTI warns traders against hiking prices of face masks amid Taal ash fall

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2020   •   1211

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Monday threatened to slap charges against traders who are found to have unreasonably increased their prices of N95 and other face masks amid the rising demand for these items following the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo issued the warning following reports of some retailers taking advantage of the surge in demand of face masks amid the Taal ash fall that has affected many parts of Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon.

In Bambang, Manila, a known destination for medical supplies and equipment, prices of N95 masks and other similar items have shot up amid the rising public demand.

From P25 to P40, a piece of N95 mask now reportedly costs P150 to P300.

Read: Manila LGU calls on traders not to raise face mask prices amid Taal ashfall

Castelo said they have dispatched teams to monitor and observe the movement of retail prices of face masks in the market.

“Those found to have unreasonably increased their prices for gas masks, face masks and other similar items, which act is tantamount to profiteering, shall be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.

“DTI will not hesitate to file administrative and criminal charges against unscrupulous business entities and individuals who capitalize on the consumers’ urgent need for their own profit,” she added.

Castelo also said that prices of manufactured basic necessities and prime commodities shall remain unchanged as of the latest DTI Suggested Retail Price Bulletin published last September 31, 2019.

DTI to decide soon on SRP for gadgets

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to decide this week on whether to impose suggested retail prices for electronic gadgets like laptop computers and tablets.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the department’s consumer protection group is still studying the possibility and necessity of placing price caps on gadgets.

Lopez admitted they are reluctant when it comes to imposing price ceilings on gadgets as these have different performance, features and power.

If the study would show the need to impose SRP, the trade chief said this would only apply to the gadget’s basic features.

Lopez also noted that the price range varies depending on the brand.

The demand for gadgets increased after many companies imposed work-from-home schemes for its employees amid the novel coronavirus disease pandemic.

Reopening of internet cafes up to LGUs, DTI says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The decision on whether to resume the operations of internet cafes will be up to local chief executives, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) following the implementation of new community quarantine restrictions on Tuesday.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said they will leave to Metro Manila mayors the timing of the reopening of internet cafes after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed the resumption of limited operations of gyms, personal grooming centers, drive-in cinemas and review and tutorial centers in areas under general community quarantine.

Lopez said they will release a set of guidelines recommending the operating capacity of these establishments, as well as additional health protocols to prevent the further spread of novel coronavirus disease.

The DTI chief issued the statement following the announcement of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on the resumption of limited operations of internet cafes and sports facilities such as gyms.

Domagoso also adjusted the curfew hours to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Limited dine-in service, salons in Metro Manila to resume on August 19, DTI says

Robie de Guzman   •   August 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Dine-in services in restaurants, and salons in Metro Manila and nearby provinces may resume operations by Wednesday, August 19 when it eases back to general community quarantine (GCQ), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

On Monday night, the government announced that Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite will be placed under GCQ from the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine starting August 19 to August 31.

Aside from dine-in services and salons, barbershops and establishments offering personal grooming and aesthetic services, and pet grooming will also be allowed to operate starting Wednesday.

The DTI, however, stressed that operations can only resume up to 50 percent of the establishment’s capacity.

Minimum health standards, such as physical distancing should also be strictly observed. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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