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DTI: Price hikes for 55 basic items very likely

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said prices of 55 stock keeping units (SKUs) including canned sardines, coffee, bread, milk, and canned meat, might increase.

In a radio interview, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual revealed that prices of 55 out of 280 SKUs will increase. The Trade chief also bared the range of price increase in terms of percentage.

“For BNPCs [basic necessities and prime commodities], we see a possible hike in 55 SKUs out of 280; for 10 SKUs, a 1-5 percent [hike]; for 14 SKUs, about 6-10 percent; for 31, more than 10 percent—most are candles in the items with more than 10 percent increase,” Pascual said on Saturday, speaking partly in Filipino.

Meanwhile, DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Ruth B. Castelo told the BusinessMirror on Monday that these 55 SKUs include BNPCs such as, “canned sardines, coffee, bread, milk, canned meat.”

Pascual said 25 percent of the products for which manufacturers requested for a price increase will have price adjustments.

He added that they are “studying the requests,” and expected that most likely, “25 percent  of the requests will have a price adjustment.”

Last month, DTI-CPG Assistant Secretary Ann Claire Cabochan said in a televised interview that the Trade department received petitions for price increases for canned meat, canned sardines, coffee, milk, and bread.

Jerome Ong, Vice President of Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi), said in an earlier televised interview they are seeking a price increase ranging from P1.50 to P2 per canned meat.

“We understand that everyone’s having a hard time right now. We are ready to make the sacrifice and ask for a smaller price increase compared to what we really need. The price increase that we need is P3 to P4 per can. But since we are also backing the DTI and the government’s goal of selling canned meat at cheaper prices in order to help consumers, our request only ranges from P1.50 to P2 per can,” Ong said last month.

Meanwhile, for bread manufacturers, Philippine Baking Industry Group (PhilBaking) President Jerry Lao also said last month that some of their members have cut down production because of the increase in price of flour.

Lao said they’ve been asking the DTI for a “very minimal increase” of P4. The PhilBaking chief said the industry’s price-increase request has been delayed for “six months already” because, he said, they wanted to help consumers stretch their purchasing power. However, he said, the industry can no longer hold the line with the effect of the price increase in sugar and fuel.

According to the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) bulletin published August 12, Pinoy Tasty currently sells at P38.50 per 450-gram pack and Pinoy Pandesal, P23.50.

For canned sardines, Canned Sardines Association of the Philippines (CSAP) Executive Director Francisco Buencamino also said last month the petition to increase the SRP for canned sardine by P3 was filed by CSAP in July, months before the group warned of a “looming” raw material shortage in the latter part of the year.

Buencamino said the P3 proposed increase is a “very small portion” of the finished canned prices, and noted that it’s a very small hike despite the fact that they maintained their prices for two years now.

The prevailing price for a 155-gram canned sardines in tomato sauce, based on the government’s SRP as of August 12, ranges from a low of P13.25 to a high of P19.58.

CSAP explained last month that their petition to increase prices of canned sardines was driven by the rising cost of materials like imported tin cans and tomato paste, as well as fuel due to the weakening of the peso and the consequences of the Ukraine-Russia war. 

Image credits: Nonie Reyes

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