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6:55 pm on 7 August 2022, Sunday
By Ruscelle Ureta
A Quezon City lawmaker warned tourism retailers – from gift shops to food stalls – that they would be penalized if they did not put price tags on the products they sell.
Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo, the House tourism committee vice chairperson, remarked on viral pricey food orders of tourists at Virgin Island in Panglao.
“Under the Consumer Act, all retailers, including those in the tourism industry, are compelled, under pain of penalties, to display a tag to indicate the price of every product or service in pesos and centavos,” Rillo said.
“It is illegal to offer any product or service for retail sale to the public without a price tag, which is required precisely to ensure pricing transparency and prevent abuses,” he added.
The overpriced seafood products on Virgin Island in Panglao caused a social media frenzy that prompted the Bohol provincial government to suspend boat trips to the tourist destination.
Under the Consumer Act, or Republic Act No. 7394, Rillo said “price tag” means any device written, printed, affixed, or attached to a product or displayed in a service establishment to indicate the retail price per unit or service.
“Products and services cannot be sold at a price higher than what is indicated in the price tag,” Rillo said.
First-time violators face imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to P5,000, or both, according to Rillo. A repeat offender faces revocation of business permit and license, Rillo said.
Rillo urged the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and local government units (LGUs) to enforce the price tag mandate strictly.
“We need strong enforcement to guarantee compliance,” Rillo said.
He also urged the DOT to use its accreditation process to promote “absolute pricing transparency” and safeguard the rights of consumers.
“For instance, in the provinces, if you go to the markets frequented by tourists, you seldom see price tags. And even if you are a Filipino, if you do not speak the local dialect, you are likely to get charged a higher price for your purchase of native products or delicacies,” he furthered.
“This is also a violation of the law, which forbids discrimination in the treatment of buyers. It is illegal to have two prices for the same product or service – one price for out-of-town visitors and another price for locals,” Rillo pointed out.