DTI’s request to BBM admin: Allot intelligence funds to boost govt’s campaign vs hoarders, profiteers

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expressed hope that the incoming administration will allot intelligence funds to strengthen the government’s campaign against hoarders and profiteers. 

To bolster its campaign against smugglers, profiteers, hoarders, and e-commerce scammers, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez emphasized that the DTI should link operations with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the trade department already took charge of raiding business establishments in Manila and Caloocan for overpricing and hoarding of medical goods that are in high demand due to the Covid-19 health crisis.

In January 2022, the trade department also went after profiteers during a calamity. It issued show-cause orders and letters of inquiry to business owners, which included those in Surigao del Norte. DTI confiscated overpriced items.

In a message to reporters on Thursday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez enumerated the trade department’s priority programs for the incoming administration. At the top of the list is  the continuity of economic reforms such as the Public Service Act (PSA), Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA), and Foreign Investments Act. 

Lopez emphasized that to ensure economic recovery, the country must also adhere to the health protocols as we are still in the middle of a pandemic. 

“Safe reopening with minimum public health standards (MPHS) – mask ventilation, vaccination-booster shots, all areas at alert level 1, face-to-face classes,” said Lopez.

Meanwhile, the trade chief also noted that there should be “more budget for modern and advanced production systems, support build-up local production capacities (to reduce imports-in all agri industry services-especially for SMEs to level up.”

Further, Lopez said that the trade department shall continue to support production and “up productivity” through agri inputs, industry support through machines equipment, and skills training through Philippine Skills Framework.He also stressed that the country should buy local policy for specific government procurement.

In terms of research, Lopez highlighted the importance of policies and programs on innovation upgrading Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (RIICs) and Center for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research. 

Lopez enumerated more priority programs for the incoming administration such as fintech under e-commerce, the e-vehicle ecosystem, creative industries development, more ease of doing business (EODB),  passage of internet Transaction Act and Budget for Standards testing equipment in relation to consumer protection.

On e-vehicle, Lopez has been pushing for the release executive order (EO) before Congress resumes on May 23. The EO aims to allow the rechanneling of funds for the third participant of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program to e-vehicle (EV) manufacturing

Meanwhile, the trade chief also mentioned this month that the DTI aims to export creative services. In fact, he said creative services are a “strength of the Filipino and should be supported and organized so it can be pushed, being included in the SIPP [strategic investment priority plan]”

Image credits: Bernard Testa