Supermarket group open to lifting of purchase limits

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 17) — A group of supermarket owners is open to the government’s plan to lift the purchase limits it previously set on some items during the quarantine.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier placed purchase limits to avoid hoarding by some consumers during the early weeks of the lockdown in Luzon. Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association President Steven Cua said the supply of most basic goods has been improving compared to previous weeks.

He, however, said that grocery and supermarket owners should be allowed bring back purchase limits on in demand goods if necessary especially since their supply is still not as high as pre-quarantine level.

“Let the supermarkets decide what to limit and what not to limit," Cua told CNN Philippines. "Nakitang inuubos ng isang wholesale customer niya, eh di puwede niyang i-limit para mapagbigyan ‘yung iba. Lalo na’t alam niyang mahirap umorder ng produktong ‘yun ‘diba,”

[Translation: If it can be seen that one wholesale customer is buying all the supplies, the supermarket can limit the purchases so others can also buy. Especially if they know that it's not easy to order the product]

Cua said this is because factories in areas under the general community quarantine especially Metro Manila, have been operating with a limited number of workers. He said the manufacturers are struggling to meet the demand for canned goods, noodles, and biscuits.

As to rubbing alcohol, he said they can only supply up to five percent of the demand.

But Cua said they still have stocks due to government’s purchase limits of two bottles per person.

The group is now recommending that manufacturers have two shifts of workers in their plants for them to respond to the steadily increasing demand.

DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, meanwhile, told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Ngayon Tuesday that Secretary Mon Lopez is expected to soon issue his decision on the matter. She noted that most manufacturers and retailers have enough supply of essential and non-essential goods to respond to consumer demand.

“Pati po ang raw materials nila [manufacturers] they have enough stock to be able to produce for the next 45 days, mayroong 60 days, 80 days to last pa na raw materials. ‘Yung supply, retailers have sufficient inventory to last them at least 30 days,” Castelo said.

[Translation: They (manufacturers) have enough stocks even of their raw materials to produce for the next 45 days, some for 60 days, 80 days. As for supply, retailers have sufficient inventory to last them at least 30 days]

Usec. Castelo warned unscrupulous individuals against hoarding once purchase limits are lifted.

She explained these persons usually resell these items online at prices that are up to four to five times higher than its original price from the supermarket.

Castelo said they monitor sellers as well as customers and know when items are overpriced.