Lawmakers have thumbed down the plan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to scrap the suggested retail price (SRP) on basic goods as provided by the Price Act.
Representatives Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis party-list and Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar were referring to the proposal of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez that the market should decide the SRP and that the setting the SRP should be a company decision.
“Amid the indigent state of the people, scrapping the SRP or liberalizing prices is another encumbrance and will definitely make the already poor poorer, who could not even afford the most basic of the basic goods such as food,” Casilao said in press statement.
Casilao identified the basic goods as rice, meat, fish, vegetables; manufactured goods such as canned fish, milk, coffee, detergent, bread, firewood and charcoal; essential drugs; and household fuel like liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene.
“It is apparent that the officials in the Duterte administration do not believe that majority of the people are already in abject poverty and misery, and that demand is generally always higher than supply as the country lack industries, and for this very reason, prices are raring to go the peakest as possible,” Casilao said.
“With no significant wage hike and continuing contractualization of labor, worsening landlessness and displacement on farmers, price hikes on basic goods or its consequential food insecurity will only lead to more political instability in the country. It’s as if the government is pushing the people to resort to unrest due to the economic reasons,” Casilao added.
Evardone echoed Casilao’s stance, arguing that scrapping SRPs would allow businessmen to collect profits at unprecedented rate.
“It is simply anti-poor. Instead of promoting competition, the removal of SRP will be used as a tool to increase the prices of basic goods,” Evardone said in a separate statement. LLANESCA T. PANTI