DTI enjoins LGUs, LP M C I n protecting consumers

CITING consumer protection against unscrupulous traders and retailers, the Department of Trade and Industry
urges local government intervention in making sure trade malpractice does not happen in their localities.

In a letter sent to local government units, Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo calls local government units
increased visibility and intensified monitoring of prices.

This is in the light of increasing prices of basic necessities and prime commodities which may be caused by
increases in prices of imported raw materials.

The recent crisis in Western Africa and on several countries in the Middle East has also pushed several
economies on a bind that the repercussions are felt even on oil consuming countries, including the Philippines.

Domingo then asks the Local Price Monitoring Councils (LPMC), which are tasked to monitor price irregular
fluctuations and trade malpractice to conduct regular updating of price billboards installed in wet markets, or
installation of such when there is none.

These price billboards give consumers price data at a glance and this facilitates more informed decisions as
well as stops price manipulation by individual businessmen with interests, explained authorities at the local
trade office.

Aside from price billboards, the DTI asks the LPCC, with the coordination of the LGU to set up Timbangan ng
Bayan so consumers can compare the weights and measures used by individual businesses in the wetmarket.

The DTI Secretary, who is also the Chair for the National Price Coordinating Council also asks for regular
inspection of weighing scales as well as price tags in al retail outlets including wet markets.

According to Joe Hibaya, local DTI consumer protection division chief, fair trade laws demand that retailers put
up visible price tags on every piece of goods, tags that show no erasures.

He even went on to say that the price tag law rules that upon payment, the consumers must insist the price
tag value as it prevails when there is a discrepancy over price scanners and price tags.

At the recent Kapihan sa PIA which tackled on Fair Trade Laws in the real threat of unwarranted price
increases in basic goods, Hibaya added that most major stores department stores and supermarkets have set
up Consumer Welfare Desks to attend to consumer complaints.

Moreover, Domingo, in his letter sent to local government unit heads enjoined on continued joining of
forces in keeping the commitment of protecting the welfare of consumers against any form of trade abuse.

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