School supply prices up 5%

Published by rudy Date posted on May 16, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Prices of school supplies such as pencils, notebooks and pens have gone up by five percent as the demand increased weeks before the school opening.

At a press conference over the weekend, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the increase in prices was demand-driven.

Domingo gave assurance that he had met with suppliers of school materials and asked them to keep prices stable.

Earlier, Consumer Welfare Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said the DTI would step up its monitoring activities for school supplies not only to check on the prices but also to ensure compliance of manufacturers and importers with specific quality standards and labeling requirements.

There are existing Philippine National Standards (PNS) for school supplies and paper products such as crayons, pencils, erasers, ballpoint pens, marker pens, notebook, pad paper, etc., that specify the classification, physical and chemical properties, performance and labeling of a product.

For instance, crayons should be classified as regular or jumbo, should not easily break or bend on certain pressure and temperature, and should be labeled as “non-toxic” to signify that its chemical contents meet the allowed toxicity level of the standard.

Product labels are important to guide consumers in choosing affordable, safe and reliable school supplies that are worth their money. Required markings include name and address of manufacturer, trade or brand name, type or size, country of manufacture, quantity, toxicity warning and instruction for use. Other specific markings are grammage or the weight of the paper, number of leaves for notebooks and school pads, hardness symbol for lead pencils, and tip classification for ballpoint pens.

Non-conformance of manufacturers, importers and retailers to the standard and labeling requirements is a violation of Republic Act 7394 or Consumer Act of the Philippines and the Standards Law. Those found not complying with standards shall face administrative charges and fine of up to P300,000 per violation.

“Once again, DTI reminds parents to not only look for affordable school supplies but also to carefully check the labels of school supplies they purchase so as to ensure safe and reliable products for the welfare of their children,” Maglaya said.

“We are closely coordinating with the industry to ensure adequate supply, stable price and quality and safe school supplies for the coming academic year. DTI will also heighten its monitoring activities in the coming months to keep watch of the price and quality of school supplies sold in public markets, supermarket, bookstores, and department stores,” she added. –Ma. Eliza Osorio (The Philippine Star)

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