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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reminds business establishments, especially the retailers in bus terminals, to comply with the suggested retail prices (SRPs) for bottled water.

As summer is still on and some Filipinos are up to traveling to different destinations by bus, DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Teodoro C. Pascua leads the monitoring and enforcement activities on the prices of various brands of bottled water sold in bus terminals.

Last April 11, Undersecretary Pascua joined the DTI’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) and monitored 13 stalls in Araneta Center Bus Terminal at Cubao, Quezon City. Upon monitoring, they found that 11 of the 13 stalls were non-compliant to the Price Act. One stall sold bottled water at a price grossly excessive of its true worth, while 10 stalls sold bottled water without a price tag.

Given this, the said stalls were given 48 hours to explain before the FTEB’s Enforcement Division. Those cases found with prima facie evidence of profiteering were filed with formal charges to the FTEB’s Adjudication Division.

Usec. Pascua then underscores that according to Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, selling a basic necessity like bottled water and prime commodity at a grossly excessive price is profiteering. There shall also be prima facie evidence of profiteering “when a basic necessity or prime commodity is sold without a price tag, misrepresented as to its weight and measurement, and raised by more than 10 percent of its price in the immediately preceding month.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed that Wilkins Pure Purified Water, Nature Spring Purified Water, and Summit Mineral Water were the brands commonly overpriced by one of the stalls (Loremae Food Service) in the said bus terminal.

The price of Wilkins Pure Purified Water–500ml was sold at P30 while Wilkins Pure Purified Water–1L was P50, which are 173% and 127% higher than their prevailing prices last month respectively.

Nature Spring Purified Water–500ml was sold at P20 while Nature Spring Purified Water–1L was at P35, which are 102% and 130% higher than their prevailing prices last month respectively.

Summit Mineral Water–500ml was priced P25 while Summit Mineral Water–1L was at P40, which are 127% and 116% higher than their prevailing prices last month respectively.

“Under DAO [Department Administrative Order] 6, Series of 2007, the administrative fine for violation of the Price Act is from P20,000 to P1,000,000, depending on the firm’s capitalization,” said Usec. Pascua.

Hence, he urges the retailers and other business establishments not to take advantage of the consuming public’s thirst for drinking water due to warm and dry weather.

“The SRPs and prevailing prices for bottled water as of April are posted on the DTI website’s e-Presyo. The retailers should go through them to avoid undue markups,” told Usec. Pascua.

To check for the SRPs and prevailing prices of the basic necessities and prime commodities that the DTI monitors as well as those stores selling the lowest prices, consult the DTI’s Online Price Monitoring System — e-Presyo — which can be accessed through www.e-presyo.dti.gov.ph or be downloaded from Play Store using any Android device and from App Store using iOS device.

Further, to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities and prime commodities above the SRPs, call DTI Direct 751.3330 or text DTI Mobile 0917.8343330.

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