THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reminded business establishments on Thursday, especially retailers in bus terminals, to comply with the suggested retail prices (SRPs) for bottled water.
“Under DAO [Department Administrative Order] 6, Series of 2007, the administrative fine for violation of the Price Act is from P20,000 to P1 million, depending on the firm’s capitalization,” DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Teodoro Pascua said on Thursday.
As summer is still at its hottest and many people travel to different destinations by bus, the CPG is closely monitoring the prices of various brands of bottled water sold in bus terminals.
Earlier, Pascua joined the DTI’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) and monitored 13 stalls at the Araneta Center Bus Terminal in Cubao, Quezon City.
They found that 11 of the 13 stalls were not complying with the Price Act. One stall sold grossly overpriced bottled water, while 10 stalls sold bottled water without a price tag.
The stalls were given 48 hours to explain before the FTEB’s Enforcement Division. Those cases found with prima facie evidence of profiteering were charged formally at FTEB’s Adjudication Division.
Pascua then underscored that according to Section 5 of Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, selling a basic necessity like bottled water and a prime commodity at a grossly excessive price is profiteering.
There shall also be prima facie evidence of profiteering “when a basic necessity or prime commodity is sold without a price tag, misrepresented as to its weight and measurement, and raised by more than 10 percent of its price in the immediately preceding month.”
Meanwhile, it was revealed that Wilkins Pure Purified Water, Nature Spring Purified Water, and Summit Mineral Water were the brands commonly overpriced by one of the stalls (Loremae Food Service) in the said bus terminal.
Wilkins Pure Purified Water–500ml was sold at P30 while Wilkins Pure Purified Water–1L was at P50, which are 173 percent and 127 percent higher than their prices in April, respectively.
Nature Spring Purified Water–500ml was sold at P20 while Nature Spring Purified Water–1L was at P35, which are 102 percent and 130 percent higher than their prices in April, respectively.
Summit Mineral Water–500ml was priced P25 while Summit Mineral Water–1L was at P40, which are 127 percent and 116 percent higher than their prices in April, respectively.
Pascua urged the retailers and other business establishments not to take advantage of the consuming public’s huge demand for drinking at this time.
“The SRPs and prevailing prices for bottled water as of April are posted on the DTI website’s e-Presyo. The retailers should go through them to avoid undue markups,” Pascua added.