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Opinion

EDITORIAL - Enforcing SRPs

The Philippine Star

After two years of distance learning, students are excited to resume face-to-face classes and reunite with schoolmates. They aren’t the only ones looking forward to their return to classrooms. All the enterprises that are heavily reliant on business generated by schools, from food service to transportation and producers and distributors of school supplies, are elated to see a revival of their livelihoods.

The past two years, however, have been marked by record-high fuel prices, food supply disruptions and shortages due mainly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last month, Philippine inflation rose to its highest in nearly four years at 6.4 percent, driven mainly by soaring food and transport costs. Food inflation is expected to remain high this month as tight sugar supply keeps prices at nearly double their levels from last year.

Not surprisingly, prices of school supplies, from shoes to uniforms and notebooks, are markedly up from pre-pandemic levels. Retailers said they bought the items at higher prices from wholesalers, who in turn pointed to manufacturers and importers. The manufacturers cited the higher cost of fuel and transport, which have affected the prices of raw materials and other costs of production.

Consumers welcome the issuance of suggested retail prices for school supplies. The Department of Trade and Industry began releasing the SRPs yesterday, with the approach of in-person classes on Aug. 22.

The challenge, as usual, will be the implementation of the SRPs. The best that the DTI can do is to conduct random inspections alongside the widespread dissemination of the suggested prices. The DTI can also provide hotlines, so that people can do their part in monitoring and reporting possible overpricing.

FACE TO FACE CLASSES

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