Consumer group baffled over ‘shrinking’ Noche Buena SRP list

Published November 30, 2021, 4:50 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

A consumer advocacy group said it is baffling that several Noche Buena products have been removed from the monitoring list or products with Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

LKI President Victorio Mario Dimagiba

In a statement, Laban Konsyumer Inc. President Victorio Mario Dimagiba expressed disappointment that several brands have been excluded from the Noche Buena monitoring list.

In fact, he said, the SRP of Noche Buena products in the DTI list shrunk by 30 percent compared to the past 2 years. Dimagiba added that consumers lost choices of 114 reasonably priced Noche Buena products in the 2021 SRP master list.

Close to 114 Noche Buena products were omitted from the DTI’s SRP list, from 206 products based on the 2019 and 2020 lists. For instance, Noche Buena essentials such as ham brands from 33 to 17, seven Queso de Bola brands from 12, five cheese brands from 15, and zero fruit cocktail brands from 12 , and tomato sauce 3 from 16 , among others being monitored by the DTI.

With Filipinos scrimping their hard-earned money to enjoy the holidays, Dimagiba said “Trade Secretary Mon Lopez and the rest of the trade department must ensure these Noche Buena products’ SRPs, particularly those delisted, are strictly followed and closely monitored to protect Filipino consumers from profiteering producers, especially during these trying times.”

“Lip service not enough,” Dimagiba lamented.

Dimagiba said that consumers welcomed the pronouncements by DTI that prices of Noche Buena products have hardly increased. But Dimagiba said that it appeared that SRP of Noche Buena products hardly moved because those that reflected increases were also removed from the list.

“While it is great news that some producers are going through great lengths to keep their products affordable, however, it is also baffling that several products have been removed from the DTI’s monitoring list,” said Dimagiba.

Dimagiba expressed disappointment that several brands or products have been excluded from the list without any explanation and leaving everyone to speculate if these brands have closed shop or if these brands are no longer monitored by the trade department.

Earlier, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said that more than half of 192 SKUs (shelf keeping units) of Noche Buena items have maintained their prices and some have even reduced their prices.

This means, he said, consumers will have lots of choices depending on their budget. DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo also said that the number of Noche Buena products that have not increased prices have gone up to 21 brands from 12, initially. Castelo said this followed after Lopez wrote to Noche Buena product manufacturers to appeal to their senses to hold off any price hikes.

Lopez also said that DTI will only publish and promote Noche Buena brands to consumers that do not hike prices.