Amid rising prices of goods, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said they are still studying petitions by manufacturers for price increase on basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) to balance the interest of business and consumers.
In a statement, DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual explained that the agency cannot yet issue a new Suggested Retail Price (SRP) bulletin, which sets the price range of BNPCs and serves as a guide to consumers in making informed product choices.
“Price increases must be managed to ensure the availability and accessibility of affordable goods for Filipinos,” said Pascual. In December last year, the DTI said they expect the new SRP bulletin to be issued early January 2023.
BNPC manufacturers that filed for hike in SRP include canned meat, canned sardines, soap, candles, among others.
Pascual said that factors such as fluctuating prices of raw materials depending on their sources, seasonal cycles, and climate changes affecting agriculture, varying global prices of fuel, changing manpower and logistics costs, and other market factors, both in the domestic and international platforms, preclude any regular or scheduled SRP bulletin issuance.
He recognized calls from the manufacturing industry to allow them to implement price increases to enable them to continue and improve operations. The ongoing global inflation has greatly affected companies, especially those whose inputs are imported.
"We understand the need for prices to be calibrated towards market realities, taking into account both consumers and the value chain impacted, so jobs are preserved. Suppose these companies would only be able to cover the cost of production with price adjustments. In that case, operations would be affected, some products might be discontinued, and, worst, workers could lose their jobs if failing companies decide to close down. We need to balance government policies that is why we still continue to study,” he added.
The DTI continues to study various factors that affect the prices of BNPCs under its purview in order to issue a policy that will benefit both consumers and manufacturers.
A balanced approach, he reiterated, is expected to boost economic activities that will pave the way for the country's post-pandemic recovery. At the same time, he said, this will support one of the priorities of the Marcos Administration of ensuring food security through the availability of affordable goods that would also sustain the economy's consumption-driven growth.