DTI tells traders: Follow SRP for face masks amid COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday reiterated its warning against overpricing of disposable face masks amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

In an interview with UNTV program, Get it Straight with Daniel Razon, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo reminded traders to follow the suggested retail price (SRP) for disposable surgical mask and N95 masks as demand remain high due to COVID-19 scare.

Castelo said the SRP of surgical mask should be at P23 to 28 per piece while N95 mask should be sold at P45 to P105, depending on the brand.

She said that they are now monitoring the possible movement of prices for face masks in the international market amid the rising consumer demand due to concerns on the rapid spread of COVID-19.

“Although pinag-aaralan na rin natin kasi baka because of the global demand na rin sa N95, baka medyo gumalaw siya, medyo tumaas so inaaral natin sa DTI kung tama pa po yung 105 pesos, but until it is changed or adjusted by DOH hindi po pwedeng ibenta above 105 at this time,” she said.

The infrared thermometer, although not included in the SRP list for medical supplies, should be sold at P2,000 to P5,000, Castelo said.

She warned that traders selling these devices beyond the suggested retail price may face profiteering and other price manipulation charges.

The DTI official also reminded traders of the existing implementation of price freeze as the Philippines is currently under a state of calamity due to the COVID-19 threat.

She also reiterated that there is no need for consumers to hoard nor panic buy products as food supplies remain sufficient in the country.

“Hindi po tayo mahihirapan because the retailers have their inventory of around 1-2 months, tapos ang manufacturers meron ding 1 month inventory and they can easily produce because the raw materials are here,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

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