THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it cannot issue suggested retail price (SRP) bulletin regularly due to “fluctuating factors” such as climate change, and price of fuel, among others.
In a radio show last Saturday, DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said the factors vary “like the climate.”
“Hindi po natin pwedeng gawin because the factors are fluctuating. Nag-iiba iba siya ‘e katulad ng klima, ‘yung seasons natin uulan, aaraw, during summer umuulan, so affected ‘yan,” Castelo said.
The Trade undersecretary also noted the varying prices of fuel across the globe as among the culprits.
“It’s an unforeseeable event na hindi mo talaga siya kaya i-predict unless may bolang kristal ka kagaya ni Madam Auring, ‘e wala naman tayo noon so hindi talaga natin mape-predict.”[It’s an unforeseeable event that you can’t really predict unless you have a crystal ball like the seer, Madam Auring. We didn’t have it then; so, we can’t really predict it.]
Manpower, Castelo noted, is another factor that prevents the agency to regularly publish its price bulletin.
“Kailangan ‘yan ng sweldo, kapasidad ng personnel, o ‘yung dami ng personnel mo nag-iiba rin, nagbabago-bago. Kaya maraming dahilan kung bakit hindi tayo pwede maglagay ng regular schedule for adjustments.”[That needs salary, personnel capacity, or the amount of personnel you have varies. There are many reasons why we cannot put a regular schedule for adjustments.]
In an earlier statement issued by DTI, the agency said Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual is taking into consideration the preservation of jobs in the country amid manufacturers’ call for price hikes.
“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,” Pascual said. “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.”
“Kailangan balanse rin ang polisiya ng gobyerno. Patuloy natin itong pinag-aaralan,” the Trade chief added. [The government’s policy also needs to be balanced. We continue to study it.]
Pascual said this after the Trade department missed its January 2023 deadline to finalize the commodity prices.
Last January 24, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. (AmCham) strongly urged the DTI to regularly publish SRP bulletins, noting that its member companies are struggling to continue production given the rising prices of raw materials and services.
In a letter addressed to the Trade chief last January 20, AmCham Philippines said it strongly urges the DTI to regularly publish SRP bulletins in accordance with the Price Act “to allow producers and manufacturers to adequately plan their operations and finances.”
AmCham Philippines Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe, who signed the letter, said the regular publication of SRP bulletins will “ultimately help” businesses to stay afloat and continue to provide jobs and quality products for Filipinos.