DTI: Proposals for price increases evaluated in 4 weeks

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expects to complete the assessment of manufacturers’ request to raise commodity prices in four to six weeks.

“The whole process usually takes about four to six weeks,” Commerce Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a Viber message to reporters yesterday.

With the current administration due to end its term on June 30, the review process is expected to be completed under the next administration.

If and when requests for price increases come in, Lopez said those would be reviewed.

He added that the assessment includes a review and verification process.

Additionally, there are one-on-one discussions of the findings with the manufacturers who filed the price increase request conducted for DTI to ensure consumer protection at all times, according to the trade chief.

“Basically it’s to temper the demand for a price increase,” Lopez said.

He added that manufacturers still have stocks of lower-cost inputs.

Commerce Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said earlier that makers of some staples such as bread, detergents and canned meat are asking for price increases or adjustments, given the rising cost inputs.

For bread, in particular, the Philippine Bakery Industry Group is considering raising the prices of Pinoy Tasty 450 grams to P42.50 from the current P38.50 and Pinoy Pandesal 10 pieces to P27 .50 from P23.50 as the price of flour used for bread making continues to rise.

Castelo said there was also pending demand to raise the price of noodles.

The last time the DTI approved suggested retail price (SRP) increases for certain commodities was last month.

According to the SRP list released by the DTI last month, the SRPs of 82 storage units increased, including canned sardines, processed milk, instant noodles, salt, detergent soap, processed canned meat and canned beef, toilet soap, drums, coffee and condiments.

‘P20/K feasible rice’

Meanwhile, Land Reform Secretary Bernie Cruz said President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s goal of bringing down the price of a kilo of rice to 20 pesos was achievable thanks to the “mega farm project” of the agency.

Cruz, the developer of the project, explained that the concept of the mega farm consists of grouping small agricultural plots into mega farms for rice production.

“The ‘mega farm’ is a group of contiguous farms that are grouped together to form a large plantation capable of producing a large volume of agricultural products to meet consumer demands,” he said.

At a press conference yesterday, the head of the Agrarian Reform Department said that if they are able to meet with Marcos and discuss details of the program, the guidelines will be released within the next six months.

“Maybe by the first quarter of next year, or early 2023, rice worth 20 pesos a kilo will already be available,” Cruz said.

“From the studies that we conducted under the agricultural mega project, we found that not only is P20 rice per kilo feasible, but it will also be profitable for our land reform beneficiaries,” said- he added. – Rhodina Villanueva

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