The government has no plans to approve the suggested price increase on basic goods now that there is a pandemic, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“[Trade] Secretary Lopez is very firm na hindi muna at this time gagalawin ang presyo ng basic necessities and prime commodities,” said Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo.
“Sa manufacturers, I’m sure they understand also our predicament. Tulong-tulong tayo sa ikakabuti ng consumers natin,” the DTI official added.
But the sardine makers are against it because the fish and cans were also expensive but they cannot raise prices.
“Ang hinihingi naman ng mga magsasardinas is only about P0.60 adjustment in tin cans,” ani Francisco “Bombit” Buencamino, executive director of Canned Sardines Association of the Philippines.
“The pandemic protocols are costing us so much money,” said Buencamino.
Aside from sardines, some brands have long wanted to raise the price of canned meat, milk, seasoning, and other products.
But not all grocery items have a suggested retail price (SRP).
Even in canned goods, not all brands are included in the SRP where the government can restrict the price.
The DTI website has a list of products and brands covered by SRP.
DTI opposes price hike on basic goods amid pandemic
Meanwhile, even though there is SRP in pork, consumer Myra Magtalas still finds the price high so her strategy is to have chicken at only P140 a kilo.
It is cheaper to buy in the supermarket than in the market.
Fried chicken businessman Tollen Entestan also bought chicken at the supermarket.
“‘Yong quality, okay, at saka ‘yong sizes hinahabol namin,” he said.
Supermarkets have their own strategy of limiting the amount of meat that consumers can buy.
Headline inflation rose again in January 2021 after the recorded kicks in commodity prices, especially when it comes to food, according to the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA).
This is the highest inflation recorded in the country since January 2019 when it hit 4.4%.
These data are very high compared to the expectations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which was initially estimated at 3.3-4.1%. It also exceeded its 2-4% target this year.