Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Teodoro Pascua on Wednesday said the government is working to ensure continued stable prices for Noche Buena (Midnight Meal) Christmas foods and prime commodities. He foresees no higher consumer prices until the end of December, even with the recent Philippine peso depreciation similar with other Asian currencies.
In a news conference at the Pandesal Forum of Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon City, Pascua cited the continued stable prices of pandesal, breads and other flour-based food products were the result of the government’s continuous consultations with bakery groups and other sectors, as well as declining global prices of wheat and flour.
He said he and DTI have been meeting and working closely with diverse business organizations, enterprises and consumers to monitor prices of basic foods and consumer goods.
Pascua urged the media to encourage a less Western or more pro-local consumer behavior, such as promoting the buying of Filipino-made parol lanterns instead of the Western idea of Christmas trees, singing or playing Filipino Christmas carols instead of Western music with lyrics about winter or snow, etc.
He said a source of good news for stable consumer goods and food prices for 2017 is the Duterte administration’s new plan to roll out DTI’s P1 billion special fund for micro-lending to micro, small and medium-scale (MSME) entrepreneurs, which hopes to ease the burdens of small traders who used to be dependent on high-interest, so-called “5-6” loans.
This special DTI fund for micro-lending, according to Pascua, can grow to as much as P6 billion by 2018.
Pascua said retailers and consumers should consult DTI’s list of suggested retail prices (SRPs) of Noche Buena products released on November 4.
He added that the DTI welcomes complaints by the public about possible profiteering, exorbitant prices, faulty quality standards, etc.
Pascua said the public can communicate to the DTI via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, telephone, writing letters or visiting their offices.
The public is encouraged to use DTI’s “e-Presyo” to guide consumers, retailers, distributors and manufacturers to monitor DTI’s SRP prices.