MANILA CITY—On 29 November 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual conducted a heightened monitoring and enforcement operation in Divisoria, aimed at safeguarding consumer rights and interests during the upcoming holiday season. 

Following the release of the Price Guide for Noche Buena items issued on 21 November 2023, Secretary Pascual mobilized the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau’s (FTEB) monitoring unit to conduct surprise on-site survey focused on verifying the actual market prices of common holiday products, such as pasta, sauce, noodles, ham, and cheese. 

The DTI chief stressed, “The monitoring activity we had is just a part of the wider efforts of the DTI monitoring teams to go out every day to inspect prices and appropriately act on violators. Our primary goal is to ensure a wide range of quality and reasonably-priced products for Filipino families during Noche Buena.” 

The trade and industry chief personally inspected two (2) supermarkets and validated their compliance with the price guide. He shared that there are even Noche Buena products priced lower than the suggested prices. 

However, Secretary Pascual firmly warned sellers that huge price difference from the guide will be reported to manufacturers who may opt to cease transactions with violating sellers.  

The Republic Act No. 7581, as amended by R.A. 10623, or the Price Act mandates the DTI and other implementing agencies, such as the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Health (DOH), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Energy (DOE), to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) at reasonable prices at all times without denying legitimate businesses a fair return on investment. 

Further, the DTI Secretary also spearheaded the intensified enforcement of technical regulations, inspecting 18 stores and resulting in the confiscation of 235 units of uncertified and unbranded Christmas lights. Meanwhile, four (4) sellers were issued with Notices of Violation requiring a written explanation within 48 hours. 

Secretary Pascual stressed, “The Department will continue to intensify its monitoring and enforcement operations, particularly during the Holiday season. We urge consumers to be vigilant and seek legitimate Philippine Standard (PS) Marks and Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) when purchasing Christmas lights to ensure the safety of your family this holiday season.” 

According to the Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7394), manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers shall be liable for damages caused to consumers by defective and unsafe products as well as for insufficient or inadequate information on the use and hazards.  

The Department continuously engages in a campaign against uncertified items in the market, including the enforcement of technical regulations mandating compliance with Philippine Standard Certification Mark Schemes, particularly Department Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 2007. 

The DTI encourages consumers to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities above their SRPs or uncertified items, through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or ♦

Date of release: 30 November 2023