THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the prices of most goods it is monitoring have not moved since November, and neither have its suggested retail price (SRP) ceilings on commonly-purchased goods.
“[S]ometimes, the manufacturers announce that they’ll have an increase, but the actual prices that we noted earlier, the actual prices that we noted in November to June, did not move. So it shows that even the SRPs did not increase,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a statement.
Mr. Lopez used November as the base period because it came before price increases in tin plate and oil. Also, it was two months before tax reform took effect in January.
He said the DTI also found that only eight items of consumer goods — known in inventory identifying systems as stock keeping units (SKUs) — registered increases in process monitored between June 11 and 15. There are about 101 SKUs under the basic commodities category including canned sardines, processed milk, coffee refills, bread, instant noodles, detergent bars, and bottled water.
The increases ”only range from 4% to 7% for canned sardines, 2% for milk, and there are also products that posted a decline in prices, about 5 SKUs. For 88 of the 101 there is practically no change in the prices in the past 6 or 7 months,” Mr. Lopez add.
Among prime commodities — the next category in the basic needs tier which include canned meat, condiments, meat products, condiments, toilet soap, bath soap, and batteries, the DTI monitors 43 SKUs, with 13 registering price increases.
“So there’s no truth to the claims of many that it’s like everything is going up. It’s only 13 out of 43. And this is in prime commodities, not even basic necessities,” Mr. Lopez added.
The DTI recently found 85 cases where pricing exceeded the SRP by a few centavos. But aside from these minor violations, it found that retailers, overall, were selling at prices below SRPs.
“Even when we go to the provinces, sometimes, I’m pleasantly surprised by items that are P1-2 lower than the SRP,” Mr. Lopez said.
“And that’s the reason why in some interviews, I say that if you’re really looking for cheap prices, why don’t you go to groceries and supermarkets? Prices are more stable there and cheaper. It’s not that I’m favoring the supermarkets and groceries. There’s no SRP in public markets,” he added in his speech during the recently held Philippine Retailers Association General Membership meeting for the second quarters.
The DTI has increased the number of stores it inspects weekly to 600 from 400. In the regions, it evaluates 500 stores weekly. — Janina C. Lim