The Department of Trade and Industry – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) sealed nonconforming products worth Php1,104,769.25; and verified the retail firms’ compliance with the latest DTI Suggested Retail Price (SRP) bulletin in its simultaneous technical regulation enforcement and price and supply monitoring in Manila, 16 February 2023. 

Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Assistant Secretary, Atty. Ann Claire C. Cabochan and FTEB OIC-Assistant Director, Atty. Joseph Manuel P. Pamittan led the DTI price monitoring and enforcement teams in inspecting retail firms within Manila following the release of the SRP bulletin last 08 February 2023 and the issuance of DTI Administrative Order 22-16, series of 2022 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11900, known as the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-nicotine Products and Novel Tobacco Products Regulation.  

Through the tight price watch, the monitoring teams affirmed the compliance of the two (2) supermarkets inspected in Manila with the latest SRP bulletin as well as the requirement of appropriate price tags on products. 

Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Assistant Secretary Atty. Ann Claire C. Cabochan checking prices and supply of basic necessities and prime commodities in a supermarket in Manila, 16 February 2023. 

Further, the monitored firms carried an average of 71 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), 15 of which were priced within the SRP level while 56 were priced even lower than the SRP in the latest bulletin. 

The SKUs priced below the latest SRP bulletin recorded a price difference that ranges from Php0.10 to Php7.25. 

With this, ASec. Cabochan encourages supermarkets to carry SKUs listed in the SRP bulletin as it provides consumers with a wide range of quality and reasonably-priced products. 

Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Fred Pascual emphasized that the consuming public shares the DTI’s quest for affordable products. 

“We, in DTI, would like to ensure that consumers will have access to affordable basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) amidst the global inflation. We are mobilizing our monitoring teams from the Consumer Protection Group to regularly conduct price monitoring. Our monitoring is also designed to prevent profiteering and hoarding. Magtulungan po tayo, kung mayroon silang alam na gumagawa ng mga unfair practices na ito, hinihikayat natin sila mag-report sa DTI para ma-aksyunan ito ng ating kagawaran,” the Trade Chief said. 

The DTI, from time to time, releases an SRP bulletin to guide consumers in making informed purchasing decisions.  

Republic Act No. 7581, as amended by R.A. 10623, or the Price Act provides the DTI and other implementing agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of Energy the mandate of ensuring the availability of BNPCs at reasonable prices at all times without denying legitimate businesses a fair return on investment.  

ASec. Cabochan also headed the ramped-up enforcement which resulted in the confiscation of 133 units of uncertified extension cord sets, self-ballasted LED lamps, lightings, and sanitary wares such as urinals and lavatories, worth Php241,529.25. 

Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Assistant Secretary Atty. Ann Claire C. Cabochan showing uncertified extension cords seized from a firm in Manila, 16 February 2023.

Out of the nine (9) inspected firms, six (6) were issued with a Notice of Violation. As part of due process, the erring firms were given 48 hours to submit an explanation related to the findings of noncompliance.  

In addition, the teams inspected 11 vape shops selling vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, and novel tobacco products to ensure their compliance with the requirements of RA 11900 and its IRR. Out of the 11 inspected, eight (8) non-conforming shops were issued a Notice of Violation (NOV), requiring each of them to submit a written explanation within 48 hours from receipt thereof. The inspection resulted in the sealing of 3,318 units worth Php863,240.00. 

Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Assistant Secretary Atty. Ann Claire C. Cabochan inspecting disposable vapes from a firm in Manila, 16 February 2023. 

Among the rules that were violated by vape shops are: Rule V, Section 6 which requires posting of the minimum age requirement around the establishment; and Rule VI, Section 1 which prohibits selling vapor products with fruit flavors and/or packaging that uses cartoon characters.  

RA 11900 lapsed into law on July 25, 2022. Consequently, the IRR was issued on 05 December 2022, published in Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon on 13 December 2022, and took effect on 28 December 2022, 15 days after publication.  

It covers vapor products/refills, vapor product devices, heated tobacco products (HTP)s, HTP consumables and devices, as well as novel tobacco products. 

“To protect the interests, facilitate the safety, and improve the quality of life of every Filipino consumer, the DTI through its hardworking enforcement unit is always ready and equipped to enforce newly enacted laws, including RA 11900, and their implementing rules. Of course, we look forward to working closely with other government agencies in undertaking the immense responsibility to regulate vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, and novel tobacco products,” ASec. Cabochan underscored.  

Prior to this inspection, the DTI already seized 3,641 uncertified items with an estimated retail value of Php2,764,897.83 in January. 

The nationwide campaign of DTI against uncertified items in the market highlights its effort of ensuring quality and safe products in accordance with the Philippine Standard Certification Mark Schemes and its technical regulations, particularly Department Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 2007.  

To protect consumers or potential buyers of electrical and electronic products; mechanical or building and construction materials; and chemical and other consumer products and systems, DTI- Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) regulates products and systems through implementing Mandatory Product Certification Schemes: the Philippine Standard (PS) Quality and/or Safety Certification Mark Licensing Scheme and the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) Certification Scheme. 

The DTI urges consumers to report violators through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or*

Date of release: 18 February 2023