DTI warns establishments manipulating face mask prices

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2020   •   1395

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) warned establishments manipulating face mask prices amid high demand due to the high activity in Taal Volcano.

DTI Usec. Ruth Castelo said that if proven guilty of price manipulation, the establishment would have to pay a penalty up to P2 million.

This is aside from a possible suspension or revocation of their business permit.

“Profiteering is an illegal act of price manipulation under the price act, ranging from 5,000 pesos to 2 million pesos. When found to really committed profiteering, we can impose the highest penalty of 2 million,” she said.

There are 12 medical supplies stores out of the 17 inspected establishments in Bambang, Manila that are facing complaints for violating the Price Act.

The complaint is for selling overpriced surgical face masks and N95 masks.

READ: DOH orders price control on medical supplies in areas affected by Taal eruption

The Department of Health (DOH) implemented price freeze on essential medicines and medical supplies in areas affected by the Taal eruption.

Authorities also advise the public to immediately report stores and establishments that are manipulating their prices through DTI hotline: 1-384.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DTI probes reports on alleged abuse of PWD discount cards

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 23, 2020

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will investigate the reports of alleged misuse of Persons with Disability (PWD) identification cards.

A photo circulated on social media last 20 June 2020 showing a photo of a family from Quezon City with all members supposedly visually impaired and one with psychosocial disability.

“Abuse of privilege in any law ruins the spirit behind it. Such a discount is solely meant for actual persons with disabilities. DTI, through the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), is currently investigating the matter,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

He also emphasized that such corruption is not tolerated and must immediately be reported to the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

The department said it is also ready to file charges against individuals proven to have fake PWD ID cards.

“Especially in this time of crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, people should not be abusing their PWD ID cards since many restaurant owners are also facing difficulty in keeping their businesses afloat,” he said. AAC

Gov’t urged to grant incentives, not taxes to online sellers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday called on the government to extend fresh capital and other financial assistance, instead of implementing “untimely” new taxes to online entrepreneurs amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Gatchalian said online sellers should be covered by the microfinancing program of the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.) under the Department of Trade and Industry to help them grow their business and recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.

The senator noted that DTI’s SB Corp. has a P1 billion Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing facility under the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (Covid19 P3-ERF) to support micro and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The microfinancing program offers a minimal interest rate of not more than 2.5% per month with no collateral requirement.

Micro enterprises with asset size of not more than PhP3 million may borrow PhP10,000 up to PhP200,000 while small enterprises with asset size of not more than PhP10 million may borrow a higher loan amount but will not exceed PhP500,000.

“Ang DTI ay dapat magbigay pa nga ng puhunan sa mga Pilipino na nawalan ng trabaho at gustong makaahon sa kahirapan sa pamamagitan ng pagnenegosyo sa online. Sa ganitong panahon ng pandemya, mas magandang nasa tahanan lang sila at nag-nenegosyo. Nabibigyan pa nila ng trabaho ang mga delivery service riders.” Gatchalian said.

“Hindi lang basta ayuda ang hinihingi ng mga negosyanteng ito. Ang hinihingi nila ay malaya silang bigyan ng oportunidad na makapag-negosyo para may kita sila,” he added.

Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs, issued the statement following Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) move to require online sellers to register their business until July 31, and pay taxes if they are earning higher than P250,000 a year.

The lawmaker believes that registering businesses with the BIR is ineffective since its system requires an applicant’s physical presence at this time when people are still being restricted from leaving their homes.

“Nakita ko na hindi rin handa ang ating pamahalaan na buwisan ang ating mga maliliit na negosyante dahil yung ultimong pagre-rehistro ay hindi pa sila handa kaya huwag na nating ipilit sa ganitong panahon ng pandemya, dahil hindi lang marami ang naghihirap kundi marami rin ang natatakot na lumabas ng kanilang bahay,” he stressed.

Aside from providing capital, Gatchalian also urged the DTI to make use of the Philippine Innovation Law to enhance the competitiveness of these online sellers.

The law aims to harness innovation efforts to help the poor, the marginalized, and MSMEs to be a part of the domestic and global supply chain.

ALAMIN: Health protocols na ipinatutupad sa dine-in services

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Simula na ngayong Lunes, Hunyo 15 ang limitadong dine-in services sa restaurants at iba pang food establishments sa Metro Manila.

At upang masigurong nasusunod ang minimum health standards na inilatag ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), nag-ikot ang ilang opisyal ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sa ilang kainan.

Ayon kay DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, compliant naman sa inilatag na health standards ng IATF ang mga ininspeksyon nilang dine-in establishments.

“’Yung mga ready na, nag operate na today, okay naman sila. Fully compliant, meron ngang medyo high tech, merong hindi masyadong hightech. pero just the same ang importante yung compliance nila,” ani Castelo

Aniya, lahat ng establisimyento ay nagpapatupad ngayon ng ‘no mask, no entry’ policy.

Bago pumasok sa loob ng restaurant, kailangan ding gawing ng mga customer ang sumusunod:

  • Mag-sanitize sa pamamagitan ng paglalagay ng rubbing acohol sa kamay at pag-apak sa floor mat na may disinfectant.
  • Magpakuha ng body temperature. Kung mahigit sa 37.5 degrees celcius ang temperatura ng isang customer o kaya ay may sintomas ng coronavirus ay hindi ito papasukin.
  • Kapag normal ang temperatura, kailangang sagutan ng customer ang ibibigay na health checklist.
  • Kailangang punan ang hinihinging detalye sa health checklist bago payagang umorder at kumain sa loob ng restaurant ang isang customer.

Batay sa IATF guidelines, kailangang masunod ang physical distancing sa loob ng restaurant. Isang metro dapat ang layo ng bawat upuan, naka-alternate ang seating arrangement, at kung maaari ay may dividers ang bawat customer.

Ayon kay Castelo, araw-araw nilang iinspeksyunin ang food establishments upang masegurong nasusunod ang mga panuntunan at maiingatan ang kalusugan ng publiko at mga empleyado ng food industry. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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