Lawmakers have thumbed down a plan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to scrap the suggested retail price (SRP) for basic goods as provided by the Price Act.
Congressmen Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis party-list and Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar on Thursday said the setting of the SRP should be a company decision.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez had said that the market should set the SRP.
“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 a 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 lacks industries, and for this very reason, prices are raring to go the peakest as possible,” he 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 economic reasons,” Casilao added.
Evardone agreed, saying 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 also in a statement.