News - 03302020_NWS_COVID19
Benguet MSMEs produce facemasks for COVID-19! The municipality of Itogon, Benguet, through the initiative of LARNS Hills Association of Ampucao tailors, has already placed a bulk order of washable facemasks for the local community. LARNS is a recipient of the DTI’s Shared Service Facility program. 

Considered as the backbone of the country’s economy, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are well distributed in every place that you find them in food manufacturing, retailing, and distribution among others. In the Cordillera provinces, MSMEs are trying to cope up with the downturn of business resulting from the imposed enhanced community quarantine as a measure of protection and overcoming adversities brought by the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 pandemic.   Responding to the needs of the people and inadequacy of suppliers, MSMEs took initiative in producing face masks and face shields for the community, frontliners and health workers.

In Kalinga, more than 3,000 pieces of facemasks are produced in a week while entrepreneurs from other provinces are also sewing masks to augment shortage in the area.  Kalinga’s Carol Lines Ethnic Fashion, Balik-Tribo Fashion Accessories, Kinwa Etnika Handicrafts, Jajie’s Native Fashion & Ifka’s Weaving and other members of the Chamber of Kalinga Producers Inc. are also donating their resources, time and effort to frontliners doing extra work to contain the spread of the dreaded COVID-19.

In Mountain Province, members of the Montañosa Weavers Association (MWA), a provincial wide weaver’s organization, Guinzadan Weavers and recipient of sewing machines and looms under DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) program wanted to give back to the community by donating facemasks to Sagada local government.  Other SSF Cooperators, such as Guinzadan Weavers Association and Tribeline Cordi, are making washable facemasks available at affordable prices.

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For Benguet province, DTI-initiated rolling stores for prime and basic commodities were scheduled in Tuba in coordination with the local government unit reaching Nangalisan in March 24, Camp-4 in March 25, Twin Peaks in March 26 and Taloy in March 27. Items sold in the four-rolling-store activity were provided by Tiong San La Trinidad through the coordination of DTI Baguio-Benguet.

All LGUs activated their Local Price Coordinating Councils as a mechanism to prevent and curb the possibility of price manipulation.  As a council, they conduct joint monitoring to cover all basic necessities and prime commodities and other critical products, regardless of agency jurisdiction provided in the Price Act.

The country’s Price Act also maintains that the State provides effective and sufficient protection to consumers against hoarding, profiteering and cartels with respect to the supply, distribution, marketing and pricing of said goods, especially during periods of calamity, emergency, widespread illegal price manipulation and other similar situations.

As defined under Section 3 of the Price Act, “Basic Necessities” include: rice; corn; bread; fresh dried and canned fish and other marine products; fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat; fresh eggs; fresh and processed milk; fresh vegetables; root crops; coffee; sugar; cooking oil; salt; laundry soap; detergents; firewood; charcoal; candles; and drugs classified as essential by the Department of Health.

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DTI and CIDG are checking on consumer complaints and feedback from netizens on the exorbitant cost of alcohol, facemasks and thermal scanners.

Criminal charges would be filed against those suspected of overpricing and hoarding medical devices and products like alcohol, medicines, and face masks.

DTI-CAR has already coordinated with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to look into the reported scams and online selling of said medical devices at high prices. ♦

Date of Release: 30 March 2020