Senator Imee Marcos on Tuesday urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ramp up surprise inspections on school supply vendors that do not follow the DTI’s price guide.
She said vendors will be taking advantage of the first week of classes when students and teachers are rushing to complete their school supplies. “They have no more time to haggle,” she said.
She noted that vendors ignored the DTI price list under its “Gabay sa Pamimili ng School Supplies sa 2023.”
Random price monitoring conducted by the senator’s office in some Metro Manila markets over the weekend and Monday showed that basic notebooks cost P23 to P60 each, or up to P8 more than the DTI price guide’s range of P23 to P52.
Pad paper was also cheaper in DTI’s price guide at P20 to P28, but cost as much as 35 pesos particularly in Caloocan and Rizal markets.
Marcos also said crayons in various quantities cost P30 to P100 per box, while DTI’s price guide listed them at 24 to 69 pesos only.
However, assorted pencils and ballpens could be found at cheaper prices of seven to 11 pesos, compared to DTI’s listing of 11 to 17 pesos.
Bargain hunters buying in bulk in Divisoria will find that regular notebooks previously priced at P180 to P200 per ream now cost P250 while spiral notebooks that used to cost 180 to 220 pesos per ream now sell for as high as 300 pesos.
Marcos credited the DTI for its suprise inspections in Divisoria and other markets in the past two weeks but said that as soon as inspections are over, prices were being marked up again.
She said some parents themselves have said that they couldn’t do anything even if they confront vendors with DTI’s price guide.
“It’s clear that closer monitoring is needed,” she further stated.