The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is not expecting the prices of Noche Buena products to increase during the holidays due to the pandemic.
Provincial director Hazel Salvador said Monday they are confident that local establishments will be considerate and will be compliant with the suggested retail prices (SRP) they issued.
Even the towns of Taytay, Brooke’s Point, and El Nido, which were placed under their strict monitoring in 2019 after records of failure to comply with the SRP of prime commodities observed during late 2018 are not expected to increase prices.
If consumers notice any unfair increase, Salvador said they should file reports to their office so they can act on their complaints.
“Hindi naman siguro [magtataas] kasi meron siyang limit, kung talagang lumampas siya ay pwede naman mag-reklamo, iyon ang lagi namin sinasabi. Kasi mahirap naman ‘yong sasabihin lang nila na ang mahal-mahal tapos sasabihan namin mag-file ng complaint, hindi naman sila nagpa-file. Kasi puwede sila i-allow hanggang 10 percent (markup) hindi ba? Kapag lumampas doon, bawal na ‘yon,” she said.
“I’m sure na hindi rin siya masyadong lalampas kasi alam naman nila na pandemic, kasi kung tataas siya, wala nang bibili. Ang mga tao hindi na bibili. Unless a week before or ilang days before the Noche Buena, minsan nagpa-panic buying kung magkano na yong benta ay bibilhin mo na,” she added.
DTI released on November 11 the list of SRPs of Noche Buena products which includes ham, fruit cocktail, keso de bola, cheese, sandwich spread, mayonnaise, pasta—spaghetti noodles, elbow, and salad macaroni—spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and all-purpose cream.
Trade and industry secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement that the department assures the public of the availability of supply and stability of prices of the items in the midst of a pandemic.
Before the issuance of the list of SRP, the DTI Consumer Protection Group reviewed the prices, and the proposals of some companies for price increases.
According to Lopez, DTI approves the SRPs of these products as they become necessary products and to protect the interest of the consumers during the Christmas season.
“DTI conferred with manufacturers to evaluate the basis of any price adjustment and cost increases, if any, have to be proven. To the extent possible, with minimal cost movement, price increases are avoided, especially considering the pandemic situation now where many Filipinos are experiencing financial difficulties,” the statement said.
“The process is not easy, but we appreciate the response of many companies as they want to show the bayanihan spirit by not increasing their Christmas products this year. We talked to each manufacturer to retain their 2019 prices for Noche Buena products,” undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo added.
Consumers may check the SRP of products within the department’s website https://www.dti.gov.ph/news/noche-buena-products/
Local DTI encourages consumers to file complaints through social media platforms, text, call or even walk-in if they have observed establishments that are not compliant with the SRP.
“Hindi naman kasi pwede manghuli nang walang pruweba. Kapag nakita naman namin, automatically sinasabihan namin,” Salvador said.
Salvador said that if establishments will increase their prices, consumers would look for the same product with the cheapest prices.
She added that local establishments are compliant with the prescribed SRP as per their continuous monitoring.
“So far, walang lumalampas, walang pasaway ngayon, wala naman kasi niri-report naman namin. Mabilis kami mag-report, after the monitoring, binabato namin agad sa regional office. Kasi alam naman nila na regular umiikot ang DTI kaya hindi sila lumalabag sa policies natin sa Price Act lalo na ngayon pandemic sila, hindi sila magmamahal kasi alam naman nila na wala na ngang pambili,” she said.
DTI Palawan will also conduct a Diskwento Caravan in El Nido and encourages locals to purchase some products in advance that they could use for the holiday season.
“Sa ating consumers, lagi namin paalala ay maging smart sila sa kanilang pamimili, may choices naman sila. Kung may nakita sila na overpricing talaga, anytime naman ay open ang DTI sa kanilang complaints. Lagi namin paalala na maging matalinong mamimili, maging mapanuri,” she said.