The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced over the weekend that it has not authorized any increase in the prices of canned and powdered milk, canned meat, bath soap, sugar and bottled water amid reports of spikes in the prices of the cited
DTI Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba said, “[The DTI] has pending requests for new suggested retail prices (SRPs) on these products from their manufacturers, but these requests are still for evaluation, thus, we do not expect any price increase on said products.”
According to Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, canned and powdered milk (or processed milk), sugar, and bottled water are listed as basic necessities, while canned meat and bath soap are listed as prime commodities. The Price Act tasks the DTI to monitor the price and supply of the cited products.
“We received information from consumers and the media that there have been sudden spikes in the prices of said products that are among the basic necessities and prime commodities that the DTI and Department of Agriculture (DA) monitor,” Undersecretary Dimagiba said.
The DTI said that the common reason of manufacturers for a request of price adjustment this year is the increase in prices of imported raw materials in the last quarter of last year and first quarter of the current year. But the DTI said that the declaration of a price freeze because of Typhoon Yolanda compelled it to disapprove requests for price increases.
Manufacturers are now appealing again for a second review of their SRPs. Some manufacturers are reasoning that price adjustments must be made in order to narrow the price difference among competing brands and to correct the margins in their previously submitted SRPs.
For the DTI, however, these reasons do not fully justify a price increase.
“We have immediately routed a memorandum to the DTI regional and provincial offices to verify these reports on price increases for several basic necessities and prime commodities. We have required them to report promptly if there are spikes in prices and to issue Show Cause Orders to retailers that sell at more than the listed SRPs”, Dimagiba noted.
Moreover, the DTI requested the two major supermarket groups in the country—the Philippine Association of Supermarkets, Inc. and the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association Inc.—to continue observing the movement in the prices of goods. They were also reminded to adhere to the current SRPs.
Dimagiba, moreover, said, “Selling at more than the SRPs is an illegal act of price manipulation and a violation of the Price Act that penalizes a retailer or distributor with an administrative fine of up to P1 million and a criminal fine of up to P2 million, and an imprisonment of up to 15 years.”
DTI urges consumers to be vigilant in purchasing basic necessities and prime commodities. For a copy of the SRPs for basic necessities and prime commodities, go to www.dti.gov.ph. To report complaints on the price and supply of basic and prime goods, call DTI Direct 751-3330 and 0917-834-3330.