DTI sets price checks on school supplies

Published by rudy Date posted on May 28, 2011

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Friday said that it would beef up its market monitoring operations because it expected prices of school supplies to rise with the opening of classes next week.

In a statement, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said that his agency along with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the local government of Manila will further intensify its market monitoring operations to ensure adequate supply and stable prices, particularly in Divisoria.

Divisoria is known to be the bargain center in Metro Manila where most school supplies may be bought at lower prices.

“We are closely working with the DepEd and the LGUs [local government units] to keep a tight watch on the distributors and retailers of basic school supplies such as notebooks, pad papers, pencils, crayons and ballpens, in order to prevent unreasonable price hikes and proliferation of unsafe school items while the demand for the said goods increases,” Domingo said.

Zenaida Maglaya, DTI undersecretary for consumer welfare, said that the agency has published the Suggested Retail Prices (SRPs) of select school supplies in newspapers and on its website to guide consumers on their purchases, and alert retailers to sell within the published retail prices.

“We have also disseminated posters on the SRPS of schools supplies to bookstores, department stores, supermarkets and other retailers of school supplies to serve as a ready reference for consumers to easily compare brands and determine whether the goods sold are reasonably-priced,” she added.

SRPs are issued by manufacturers to retailers to ensure market share and fair competition in the market.

These guide prices include production cost, distribution cost and profit margins of retailers and distributors.

Besides prices, the DTI will inspect the quality and proper labeling of school supplies.

Under the Consumer Act of the Philippines or Republic Act 7394, manufacturers and distributors are required to comply with the minimum labeling requirements, which include the name and address of manufacturer, trade or brand name, type or size of product, country of manufacturer, quantity, toxicity warning and instruction for use.

Other important markings that school supplies should bear are the class of paper (book or bond) and number of leaves for notebooks and school pads, hardness symbol for lead pencils, the word “non-toxic” for crayons, and tip classification for ball pens. –Darwin G. Amojelar, Manila Times

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