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DTI set to decide on prices of Noche Buena items next week
Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said in a text message yesterday that the DTI would complete its evaluation on the price hike requests of manufacturers “anytime next week for release in November.”
KrizJohn Rosales, file

DTI set to decide on prices of Noche Buena items next week

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - October 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Consumers will know in the coming week if proposed price increases for basic goods and Noche Buena items will be approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said in a text message yesterday that the DTI would complete its evaluation on the price hike requests of manufacturers “anytime next week for release in November.”

Among the requests received by the DTI are for upward price adjustments on basic goods such as sardines, milk, canned meat and instant noodles.

Castelo said the proposed price increase for these items range between P0.25 and P1.

“We have not approved any increase yet,” she said.

Manufacturers of Noche Buena (Christmas Eve feast) products – such as ham, spaghetti, tomato sauce, elbow macaroni, creamer, sandwich spread, mayonnaise and fruit cocktail – are also requesting price increases.

To protect consumers, the DTI monitors products covered by the suggested retail price list, which includes necessities, prime commodities and Noche Buena items.

Earlier, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the price hikes are being requested by manufacturers to cover increases in their costs.

However, consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) said there is no reason to hike prices of Noche Buena products and, instead, a price freeze should be implemented.

LKI president Victorio Mario Dimagiba pointed out that the better value of the peso versus the dollar means that imported raw materials and fuel for the transport and distribution of goods should be cheaper.

Citing lower consumer spending, he also said food manufacturers have excess inventory.

“It is not fair and humane to increase prices for the sake of profits in the middle of this pandemic, especially when there are millions of Filipinos still experiencing loss of jobs, money and means to buy food, leading to hunger across the nation,” Dimagiba said.

“Food products under the Noche Buena category are part of Filipino culture and social tradition. Let us enliven the season with price freeze rather than price increase,” he said.

DTI NOCHE BUENA
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