By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Laban Konsyumer Inc., the country’s leading consumer advocacy group, yesterday asked the Department of Trade and Industry to either rollback or maintain the suggested retail prices (SRP) of Noche Buena products in light of the continued decline in the country’s inflation level.
LKI President Victoriano Mario Dimagiba pointed out that annual rate of inflation for the food index fell by 1.3 percent last month and was reported at .3 percent in August this year.
“Given these positive numbers, the DTI should not preempt issuing public statements that there will be increase in the SRP of Noche Buena products,” said Dimagiba, a former DTI Undersecretary for consumer welfare turned consumer advocate.
The LKI President said that DTI SHOULD instead focus on studying how much it should pass on to the consumers the positive inflation in terms of lowering SRP. The outlook for inflation for the balance 3 months remain very low.
Dimagiba added that the raw materials of the products had remained stable and we have relatively lower electricity and diesel prices the past 3 to 5 months.
Pasta and bread should remain unchanged if not lower as wheat had remained low this year.
LKI also urged the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. to call off plans by its members to increase prices of processed ham ranging from the basic 500 grams to the 1 kg Chinese sweet ham as consumers continue to reel from fear of the risk to health of contaminated ASF pork.
Noche Buena products are food items purchased by Filipinos for their Christmas Eve celebrations. These products include meal ingredients such as keso de bola, pasta, spaghetti sauce, ham, fruit cocktail, elbow macaroni, creamer such as condensed and evaporated milk, and cheese, mayonnaise and other sandwich spreads.