DTI confiscates substandard appliances in Batangas City inspection

From L to R: Congressman Weslie Gatchalian, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez inspecting rice cookers from appliance brand US Tradition

BATANGAS CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) confiscated appliances from two supermarkets during an inspection last 27 January 2020. The appliances included light bulbs, rice cookers, electric kettles, and induction cookers that do not have Philippine Standard (PS) marks or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) stickers for imported products.

“When buying electric products, consumers should always check for PS or ICC marks, even if they’re from known brands. The stickers certify that the products passed quality and safety standards set by the Philippine National Standards. Substandard products tend to break down sooner and may even cause fire,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

DTI also issued Notices of Violation and gave the two establishments 48 hours to respond. If charged, they may be fined up to PHP 300,000 according to DTI Department Administrative Order No. 02 S, 2007.

In one supermarket, DTI seized all appliances under the brand “US Tradition” because they either did not have stickers, or the sticker information did not match the product when scanned by the ICC Verification System app by the DTI-Bureau of Product Standards.

The free app, available on Google Play and the App Store, can scan QR codes on the ICC stickers to reveal product information. Sec. Lopez encouraged the public to download the app and report fake ICC stickers to the 1-DTI (1-384) hotline.

Apart from pursuing erring retailers, Sec. Lopez directed the DTI to go after the distributors and manufacturers of substandard products. This way, they can be confiscated even before they land in stores.

Sec. Lopez was with House Committee on Trade and Industry Chair Weslie Gatchalian, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, and Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista to monitor the prices of basic goods and agriculture products in Batangas City after the Taal volcano eruption.

DTI Batangas declared a price freeze on 13 January, which set a price ceiling for basic necessities like bottled water, canned sardines, bread, instant coffee, and powdered milk. The team found that groceries mostly adhere to the price ceiling, with some products priced even lower than the set ceiling.

DTI, however, issued a Show Cause Order to a supermarket selling bottled water products above the price ceiling. They were given 48 hours to respond and adjust their prices. The management said that since they are part of a supermarket chain, the prices come from the head office. But they said they will lower the prices and inform their head office immediately. If charged with profiteering, establishments may incur a fine between PHP1,000 to PHP1,000,000, under Republic Act 7581 or The Price Act.

Meanwhile, prices of rice, chicken, and pork in wet markets also remained stable since the eruption. Both chicken and pork were priced at PHP 170 – PHP 180/kg. But according to the DA, since the farmgate prices of chicken and pork are PHP 80/kg and PHP 100/kg respectively, the retail prices should only be around PHP 140/kg for chicken and PHP 180/kg for pork.

Sec. Lopez said that since DTI has no authority over agriculture products, they can’t file charges against overpricing vendors. Instead, he suggested that DA set a Suggested Retail Price for these products, especially Chicken, so the DA can have a solid basis for filing charges. END

Philippine Startup Meetup (PSUMU): Consultations on the Innovative Startup Act (RA No: 11337)

SAN FRANCISCO, U.S.A. – The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center Silicon Valley, and KalaWorks Coworking organized a “Philippine Startup Meetup Consultations on the Innovative Startup Act” on 13 January 2020 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center Building in San Francisco. 

Attended by more than 40 Silicon Valley-based enablers and stakeholders, the consultations served as a platform for the Philippines to inform and update Silicon Valley founders and enablers, and the Filipino-American (FILAM) tech community about Republic Act No. 11337, otherwise known as the Innovative Startup Act. An open discussion, facilitated by Silicon Valley-based FILAM enablers, provided insights on lessons, challenges and opportunities from founders and enablers who would help in the development of programs that would link Silicon Valley-based initiatives with Philippine startup programs. 

Deputy Consul General Raquel Solano welcomed the Philippine delegation and participants of the consultation. She highlighted some of the initiatives in relation to the Spark-Connect-Empower advocacy of the Philippine Consulate, a movement designed to spark love and passion among all Filipinos both in the Philippines and overseas. This was followed by two keynote presentations – “The Philippine Startup Ecosystem” and “Startup PH: Opportunities and Challenges.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Rowena Guevara delivered the first keynote providing an overview of the state of the startup ecosystem in the country, its challenges and issues, programs and activities, and highlighting some of projects of Philippine startups.  

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, on the other hand, underscored the positive developments in the economy, making the Philippines a viable location for investment and innovation.  Government initiatives were highlighted as it relates to the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S) and the priority industries that have growth potential for domestic and export markets. Also, in 2020 and the coming years, DTI will embark on new programs that will focus on the growth and scaling up of startups.

The fireside chat segment of the consultation was organized into two panels providing perspectives on two specific provisions of the Startup Act – “Panel 1: The Startup Development Program – Perspectives from SV Founders” and “Panel 2: Startup Fund – Perspectives from SV Enablers”. END

DTI, SEIPI showcase Philippine electronics sector  capabilities in Consumer Electronics Show 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Los Angeles and in partnership with the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI), the largest organization of foreign and Filipino electronics companies in the Philippines, presented the Philippine electronics sector’s capabilities during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 on 7-10 January 2020.

The show is considered as the global stage for next-generation technologies which include Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), automotive, health and wellness, and entertainment content, among others.

The electronics industry mission in the U.S. is a collaboration of SEIPI and the electronics industry players in the Philippines, the PTIC in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), with participation from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA).

The Philippine Electronics Industry seminar and networking forum on January 8 and the country presentation during the World Electronics Forum on January 9 were among the mission’s important highlights. The mission also included individual client meetings, business forums, networking activities, meeting with government agencies, as well as company and facility visits in Silicon Valley, California.

“What we envision is to come up with new products, services, and business models in electronics, aerospace, IT-BPM, chemicals, and agri-business which are the priority sectors of the Philippines,” DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, who led the Philippine delegation, shared.

 In addition to Philippine government agencies, the business delegation was composed of SEIPI, Airfreight 2100, LGC Logistics Inc, Susumi Philippine Logistics Inc., Macro Wiring Technologies Co. Inc, Airspeed Logistics, De La Salle University, IONICS EMS Inc., MERALCO (Manila Electric Company), Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. (IMI), and PLDT Inc.

“The Philippine electronics industry stands to leverage on the opportunities being showcased in this event. We have a strong trade relationship with the U.S, as the Philippines is a significant part of the product supply in the global electronics market. Our industry offers full turnkey services from procurement to assembly, and is supported by a dexterity in supply chain management.  We have excellent quality management programs with a full range of certification in global quality standards.  We are delighted to present our seasoned engineering talent with highly skilled individuals who are productive, responsive and proficient in English,” said SEIPI President Dr. Dan Lachica. 

DTI is doing its part in improving the overall climate for export development. Moreover, the agency continuously strengthens existing prospective opportunities from trading arrangements, such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with the U.S.  Trade deals like the GSP are part of the DTI’s comprehensive support to strengthen industries and create more jobs and employment opportunities for Filipinos