Saturday, March 21, 2020

DTI, CIDG raid essential product hoarders in Manila and Caloocan

Following the heightened consumer protection alert of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in this State of calamity declared by President Duterte, the DTI – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) of the Consumer Protection Group (CPG), led by FTEB Director Ronnel O. Abrenica and Enforcement Chief Atty. Genaro Jacob, and the Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Unit (AFCCU) of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), led by PCOL Bayani M. Razalan, conducted an Entrapment Operation on March 20, 2020 against medical establishments located in Bambang, Manila and Sangandaan, Caloocan. The raids were in response to reports or complaints received from several consumers and complaints through Facebook account against establishments from Bambang and Caloocan respectively for alleged overpricing and hoarding of various medical products.

Through a Buy-Bust operation, the establishment in Bambang was caught by DTI-CIDG in the act of selling 60ml Isopropyl Alcohol at PhP80.00 per bottle, which is in disobedience to the Prize Freeze issued by the government. Subsequent to the declaration of Public Health Emergency, the Department of Health (DOH) issued a Prize Freeze on emergency medicines and medical supplies for the information of the public and for the compliance of retailers concerned. There was also an indication of Hoarding, taking into consideration the presence of signages that there are no available stocks to make it appear that there is shortage. However, contrary to such representation, alcohol products are available for sale to buyers, not to mention the several boxes thereof or volume of stocks discovered by the raiding agencies. In other words, the establishment is trying to depict an “Artificial Shortage.”

In the Bambang operation, the DTI-CIDG recovered 684 pieces of 500ml bottle of Green Cross 40% solution, 72 pieces of 500ml Green Cross 70% solution, 336 pieces of 60ml bottle Green cross alcohol, and 288 pieces of 40ml Green Cross alcohol hand spray amounting to an estimated total of Php231,000.00. The operation ensued in Sangandaan, which led to the arrest of the suspects who were caught in the act of selling overpriced 70% Ethyl Alcohol and the seizure of 83 pcs 500ml Ethyl Alcohol being sold at Php 140.00 each and 48 pcs of 1-liter Ethyl Alcohol being sold at Php 250.00 each with an overall estimated value of Php 23,620.00. All these alcohol products were brought to CIDG-AFCCU for proper documentation and processing.

Meanwhile, the DTI will refer the matter to the Local Government Unit concerned for appropriate action, recommending preferably the closure and cancellation of the Business Permit issued in favor of the retailer subject of the joint operation. Administrative charges shall be filed by DTI while the criminal charges shall be filed by CIDG-AFCCU or jointly with DTI, for violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 7581 or the Price Act as amended by RA No.10623 and/or RA No.7394 of Consumer Act of the Philippines. The charges shall also refer to Proclamation No. 922 declaring a State of Public Health Emergency and Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) on Aggravating Circumstances for the imposition of the maximum penalty prescribed by applicable laws.

Secretary Ramon M. Lopez explains, “Price Freeze is strictly implemented thus the DTI warns the establishments against taking advantage of the situation, particularly the high demand of alcohol of such nature, by raising their prices in excess of the ceiling provided either under the Automatic Prize Control provision of the Price Act or the Price Ceiling set by the DOH.”

Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo reiterates to the consuming public to always check the issued Price Freeze or Price Ceiling on Medical Supplies and report any erring offline or online establishments through our Consumer Care hotline.

For further inquiries, clarifications, and/or complaints, consumers may immediately connect through Consumer Care hotline at 1-DTI (1-384) or may email at consumercare@dti.gov.ph. END

March 20, 2020

DTI ensures unhampered movement of cargo and transit of personnel of operating establishments

“Movement of all food and non-food cargoes within, to, and from Luzon shall be unhampered, and if subjected to random inspection, shall not be delayed. Transit of personnel of all establishments allowed to operate shall likewise be permitted,” says the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in its latest issuance, Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-06.

The MC covers enterprises engaged in the manufacture of all food and essential products, medicine, and medical supplies such as, but not limited to, soap and detergents, diapers, feminine hygiene products, tissue, wipes, and toilet papers, disinfectants, medicines and vitamins; medical personal protective equipment, gloves, and masks.

This includes the distribution and logistics to support manufacturing activities, including cargo handling, warehousing, trucking, and port operations.

Retail establishments such as supermarkets, groceries, hypermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacies and drug stores, and the Export and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies are likewise included in the said issuance.

While the MC ensures the smooth and unimpeded movement of all cargoes in the Luzon area, when stopped at any checkpoint for random inspection, the cargo manifest or delivery receipt indicating the destination, nature, and quantity of the loaded goods/cargoes must be presented for them not be delayed.

Transit of personnel of these operating enterprises and establishments shall likewise be allowed in all checkpoints upon presentation of a valid company-issued identification card, proof of residence, or certificate of employment. To further facilitate this, by 22 March 2020, an official IATF ID duly issued by the DTI will be presented at the checkpoints instead of the usual identification requirements.

To apply for the IATF ID, qualified enterprises and establishments covered by MC 20-06 may download and fill-out the template from the DTI website, www.dti.gov.ph/iatfid/, and submit to the following contact points:




Board of Investments (BOI)

Executive Director Ma. Corazon H. Dichosa



DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG)

Ms. Angeli Ann Solis

Ms. Maria Lorena A. Yanga



DTI-Supply Chain and Logistics Management Division (SCLMD)

Mr. Jonathan Cabaltera

Ms. Wea Bohol

Ms. Berlin Mabuna


Meanwhile, operations of Export and BPO companies on a skeletal workforce will be allowed provided that, they observe strict social distancing measures and provide temporary lodging and shuttle service to those assigned as skeletal personnel.

Arrangement with hotels for accommodation of employees of export-oriented and BPO companies and transfer of necessary equipment such as, but not limited to, desktop computers and laptops for those working from home will be permitted until 20 March 2020, unless extended.

“We completely understand the plight of the enterprises and establishments, and their people. The government is doing everything it can to facilitate the most reasonable arrangements while adhering to the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon for the smooth delivery of basic essential goods and services to the people in this time of emergency,” says DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

Copies of MC 20-06 were furnished to the Philippine National Police and local government units for proper implementation. END


DTI to sellers: No increases in the prices of basic goods

“There will be no increases in the prices of all basic necessities, whether in the physical stores or in the internet, while price freeze is in effect throughout the country,” a tripartite directive of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Health (DOH).

Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-01 issued on 18 March 2020 reiterates the implementation of a nationwide price freeze on all agricultural and manufactured basic goods, essential medicines, and other medical supplies following the declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency and a State of Calamity last 08 and 16 March 2020, respectively.

The DTI, DA, and DOH signed said JMC pursuant to Section 6 of the Price Act (Republic Act No. 7581), as amended by RA 10623, which states that whenever there is a declaration of a state of emergency, calamity, or other similar conditions, prices of basic necessities shall be frozen at their prevailing prices for sixty (60) days or until sooner lifted by the President.

On the difference to an earlier announcement of a nationwide price freeze, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez clarified that, “The JMC further enhances our existing measures for ensuring sellers’ compliance with the price freeze of basic goods. The Circular does not distinguish between an individual seller and a business entity, or if they are operating in either physical or virtual stores. We made it very clear that as long as you are selling any basic good to the public, you must strictly abide by the price freeze. We have likewise intensified the monitoring and enforcement powers of our agencies through the creation of composite teams that would prevent and control any incident of overpricing/profiteering, hoarding, and cartel observed in the market.”

For better coordination on the ground, the DTI, DA, and DOH will also be fully mobilizing the Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCCs) of the local government through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The price freeze shall remain in effect for the next sixty (60) days from the later declaration of a State of Calamity on 16 March 2020 or until 15 May 2020. However, should the effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to persist thereafter, the DTI, DA, and DOH may recommend to the President the imposition of a Mandated Price Ceiling on basic goods.

Any person or entity found to have violated the price freeze may face a fine ranging between Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) and Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00) and imprisonment of not less than five (5) years up to 15 years. This is without prejudice to the prescribed penalties and sanctions in relevant ordinances issued by the local government units.

Basic goods that are under the jurisdiction of the DTI include canned fish and other marine products, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry and detergent soap, and salt.

The DA covers basic agricultural goods such as rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh, dried and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, sugar, and fresh fruits.

Essential drugs and other medical devices are under the DOH while firewood and charcoal for the DENR. Household LPG and kerosene, on the other hand, are under the DOE.

Consumers are enjoined to report business establishments that sell basic necessities beyond the frozen prevailing prices by calling the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or by sending an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph. END


DTI sets limits on the purchase of basic goods to address panic buying and hoarding

To ensure price reasonableness and sufficiency of supply of basic necessities and some essential medical supplies in the market, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-07 on Anti-Hoarding and Anti-Panic Buying which sets the reasonable limit in the sale of all basic necessities and some products intended for the protection of health such as, but not limited to, surgical and industrial masks, medical devices, alcohol, hand sanitizers, and other disinfectants.

The MC enjoins the retailers to sell and consumers to buy said products in quantities sufficient to meet their household needs for a maximum of seven (7) days only.

However, on specific items, the DTI sets the following limits:



instant noodles

(mami, pancit canton)

5 pcs. per type, per brand

Locally-produced canned sardines

5 cans per type, per brand (regular size)

3 cans per type, per brand (big size)

Canned regular milk

5 cans per type, per brand (small)

2 cans per type, per brand

(other than small)

Powdered milk in sachet

2 bundles per brand

Instant coffee in sachet

2 bundles per brand

Mineral water

10 bottles any brand (small)

8 bottles any brand (medium)

5 bottles any brand (large)

2 bottles any brand (extra large)

Loaf bread

4 packs any kind, any brand (half loaf)

2 packs any kind, any brand (whole loaf)


70% solution anti-septic or Disinfectant alcohol

2 pcs., regardless of volume

Hand sanitizer

2 pcs., regardless of size

Disinfecting liquids

2 pcs., regardless of size

Bath soap

5 pcs. (if individually sold)

1 pack (if sold as a pack)

Toilet paper

10 pcs. (if sold per roll)

1 pack (if sold as a pack)

Face mask

5 pcs. N-88 (surgical), any type or brand

5 pcs. N-95 (industrial), any type or brand

“While ensuring the availability of essential goods in the market offered at reasonable prices, especially during times of calamity or emergency, is one of the duties of government, this is also a shared responsibility with businesses and consumers. As citizens of this country, it is our social responsibility and moral duty to protect each other’s interests in this time of need. We call on the cooperation of each and every one as our nation faces and addresses the effects of COVID-19,” says DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

To properly inform the public, retailers are required to post notices in conspicuous places within their stores/branches informing the consumers of the quantity of basic necessities that they are allowed to purchase.

Further, with the implementation of a nationwide price freeze of basic necessities, the retailers are mandated to ensure that these goods are sold at their latest prevailing prices prior the declaration of a State of Calamity for sixty (60) days or until 15 May 2020. No price increase shall be allowed within this period.

Any person or entity found to have violated or committed an illegal act of price manipulation, particularly hoarding, may face a fine ranging between Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) and Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00) and imprisonment of not less than five (5) years up to 15 years. This is without prejudice to the prescribed penalties and sanctions in relevant ordinances issued by the local government units.

Consumers are enjoined to report any individual or retailer that do not comply with the provisions of the anti-boarding and anti-panic buying MC by calling the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or sending an email to, ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph. END

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