SUPERMARKETS and retailers need to eliminate intermediaries that come between them and their suppliers in the interest of keeping prices low, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Talk to the People briefing aired on Wednesday that the elimination of middlemen will help keep basic goods affordable.

“To consider… continuous supply at lower affordable price (and) increase access to lower priced basic goods to consumers, it is important to reduce middlemen. If possible, link the supermarkets to the suppliers and producers,” Mr. Lopez said at the briefing.

Mr. Lopez said the DTI’s initiatives to address the threat of inflation include the Presyong Risonable Dapat program, which connects producers of rice, frozen pork, and chicken to 83 Robinsons supermarkets in the National Capital Region (NCR), 25 Puregold supermarkets in the NCR and Bulacan, and 8 Metro supermarkets in the NCR.

Mr. Lopez said the DTI’s Diskwento Caravan and Bagsakan (wholesale) market initiatives allow manufacturers and producers to sell their products directly to consumers, in collaboration with barangays or local government units.

He added that the programs offer discounts ranging from 2% to 50% relative to prevailing market prices, with 189 manufacturers participating.

Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association President Steven T. Cua has said that the prices of basic necessities have risen by around 3% to 6% while non-essential items have become 8% to 15% more expensive.

Mr. Cua attributed the increase to the surging fuel prices, which is affecting logistics and production costs.

Since the beginning of 2022, the prices of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene have increased by P20.35 per liter, P30.65 per liter, and P24.90 per liter, respectively.

Fuel prices increased for an 11th straight week on Tuesday, with gasoline rising P7.10 per liter, diesel P13.15 per liter, and kerosene P10.50 per liter. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave