DTI assures sufficient supply of basic goods, disinfectants

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) assured the public that manufacturers have enough stocks of basic necessities and prime commodities in the market, including alcohol and other disinfectants.

“The DTI is working closely with the manufacturers and retailers to ensure continued flow of supply in the market and reasonableness of prices of basic goods including disinfectants,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

The DTI convened the manufacturers of basic necessities and prime commodities, and alcohol and other disinfectants in a meeting Thursday, March 12, following the surge in demand for these products in light of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

The emergency meeting was called to ensure supply availability and price stability of consumer goods in the market.

According to the manufacturers of basic goods, supply is sufficient while regular stocks in their warehouses are good for one month more or less, and they can produce more as the need arises.

On rice, the National Food Authority (NFA) assured the DTI that there is sufficient supply in the country.

On retail, supermarket officers of Robinsons, SM and Puregold reported that they hold regular inventory, which is good for two months.

Mercury Drug Store said it has a month’s stock of medicines.

On disinfectants, Green Cross Inc. and Philusa Corporation assured the DTI that they have sufficient supply for the coming months and committed to not increase their prices for alcohol brands -- Green Cross, Rhea, and Cleene.

Both manufacturers said they are maximizing production to meet the current demand.

Supermarkets and other retail stores agreed with the instruction of Lopez to strictly implement the “two bottles of alcohol per transaction” policy to limit the purchase of each buyer, thereby preventing shortage and the possibility of resale at an overpriced rate.

To ensure the availability of sanitizers, the manufacturers sought assistance from the DTI in coordinating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fast-track the issuance of Certificates of Product Registration for imported disinfectants.

In terms of health and safety measures, retailers are providing disinfectants at the mall entrances and cash registers. Also, security guards are using contactless thermometers to check the temperature of mall-goers to mitigate the spread of virus.

The meeting was attended by Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines Inc, Alaska Milk Corporation, CDO Foodsphere, Universal Robina Corporation, Century Pacific Inc., Procter & Gamble Distributing Philippines Inc., San Miguel Purefoods and Beverage Inc., Phil Leading Infinite Inc., Nature’s Spring, Megal Global Corporation, Nestle Philippines, Unilever, Gardenia Philippines, National Food Authority, Philippine Consumer Centric Traders Association Inc., Canned Sardines Association of the Philippines, Green Cross, Johnson & Johnson Philippines Inc., Philusa Corporation, SM Supermarkets, JG Summit Holdings Inc., Puregold, Metro Retail Stores Group of Companies Inc., Mercury Drug Store, The Generics Pharmacy, and Metro Retail Stores Group of Companies Inc.

DTI said business establishments found to have committed any illegal act of price manipulation such as hoarding or profiteering will face a stiff penalty of imprisonment for a period of five years to 15 years. They will also pay a fine ranging from P5,000 up to P2 million.

Consumers are enjoined to report hoarding, profiteering, panic buying, and any other act of illegal price manipulation through the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or send an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph. (PR)