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DTI to closely monitor price and quality of school supplies
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
As the school year closes, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) once again sets off its campaign to keep a close watch on the price and quality of school supplies in the market.
Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo states, “The start of summer school break prompts the Department to prepare for the upcoming peak sale season of school supplies in order to avert unfair trade practices of jacking up prices with the surge in demand of said goods and proliferation of substandard and unsafe school supplies.”
“DTI is set to meet with the manufacturers, importers and retailers of school supplies to assure quality, reasonable price and sufficient supply of school materials for the coming school year. It will look into the prices of raw materials such as paper to assess the prevailing retail prices of notebook, school pads and other school materials,” reports Secretary Domingo.
Consumer Welfare Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya adds, “DTI will also step up its monitoring activities for school supplies not only to check on the prices but also to ensure compliance of manufacturers and importers with specific quality standards and labeling requirements.”
There are existing Philippine National Standards (PNS) for school supplies and paper products such as crayons, pencils, erasers, ball point pens, marker pens, notebook, pad paper, etc., that specify the classification, physical and chemical properties, performance and labeling of a product. For instance, crayons should be classified as regular or jumbo, should not easily break or bend on certain pressure and temperature, and should be labeled as “non-toxic” to signify that its chemical contents meet the allowed toxicity level of the standard.
Product labels are important to guide consumers in choosing affordable, safe and reliable school supplies that is worth their money. Required markings include name and address of manufacturer, trade or brand name, type or size, country of manufacture, quantity, toxicity warning and instruction for use. Other specific markings are grammage and number of leaves for notebooks and school pads, hardness symbol for lead pencils, and tip classification for ball point pens.
Non-conformance of manufacturers, importers and retailers to the standard and labeling requirements is a violation of the Republic Act 7394 or Consumer Act of the Philippines and the Standards Law. Those found not complying with the said standards shall face administrative charges, which includes a maximum fine of P300,000 per violation.
Usec. Maglaya stresses “Once again, DTI reminds parents to not only look for affordable school supplies but also to carefully check the labels of school supplies they purchase so as to ensure safe and reliable products for the welfare of their children.”
“We are closely coordinating with the industry to ensure adequate supply, stable price and quality and safe school supplies for the coming academic year. DTI will also heighten its monitoring activities in the coming months to keep watch of the price and quality of school supplies sold in public markets, supermarket, bookstores, and department stores,” underscores Usec. Maglaya.
Consumers can report or file a complaint against substandard products through DTI Direct 751.3330.