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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

DTI: Access to basic necessities and prime commodities assured amid global spikes

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) assured consumers at the weekend they will have access to affordable basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) amid the global inflation.

“We, in DTI, would like to ensure that consumers will have access to affordable basic necessities and prime commodities amidst the global inflation,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in a statement on Saturday.

The Trade chief said they are mobilizing their monitoring teams from the Consumer Protection Group (CPG) to “regularly” conduct price monitoring on these BNPCs.

Pascual underscored the agency’s monitoring mandate, which he said is designed to prevent profiteering and hoarding.

The Trade chief said the remarks after the Trade department’s consumer protection arm, led by DTI Assistant Secretary Ann Claire C. Cabochan and Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) Officer-in-Charge Assistant Director Joseph Manuel P. Pamittan, conducted the price monitoring and enforcement operations as they inspected retail firms within Manila following the release of the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) bulletin on February 8.

“Through the tight price watch, the monitoring teams affirmed the compliance of the two supermarkets inspected in Manila with the latest SRP bulletin as well as the requirement of appropriate price tags on products,” DTI said in a statement.

DTI said the monitored firms carried an average of 71 stock keeping units (SKUs), 15 of which were priced within the SRP level while 56 were priced even lower than the SRP in the latest bulletin.

In the middle of the rise in prices of raw and packaging materials and other costs worldwide, the Trade department allowed manufacturers of BNPCs to adjust their prices to keep their businesses running.

In the latest SRP bulletin released February 8, DTI-CPG said 141 or 65 percent of the total SKUs maintained their prices from the August 12 SRP bulletin while 76 or 35 percent of the SKUs increased by P 0.45 to P7.

Commodities that increased prices include canned sardines in tomato sauce, processed milk, coffee 3-in-1, original noodles, bread, detergent soap, canned meat, candles, and condiments.

According to DTI-CPG, increases in the price of food items were kept to P0.45 to P3.60.

The agency assured the public that price adjustments were “carefully” studied and kept to a minimum to ensure that affordable goods are still available in the market.

Republic Act No. 7581, as amended by RA 10623, or the Price Act, provides the DTI and other implementing agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), among others, the mandate of ensuring the availability of BNPCs at reasonable prices at all times without denying legitimate businesses a “fair return on investment.”

In a televised interview on the same day the SRP bulletin was released, DTI-CPG Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo divulged that the Trade chief opted to grant the price adjustments of manufacturers because they were already in the “danger zone”.

Castelo, however, said they tempered the price increases in the most recent price bulletin. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/02/09/dti-greenlights-hike-in-srpfor-bread-canned-products/

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