Bad weather in the past week can be blamed for the reported violations of the suggested retail price for agricultural products and other basic commodities, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a radio interview Saturday.
Lopez told radio dzBB the Department of Trade and Industry has received reports of some products going over the specified SRP of the Department of Agriculture, particularly vegetables.
The price of red onions, for instance, went up to P120 from a P95 SRP, Lopez said.
He repeated his warning to markets and stores found violating the SRP that they could face fines raging from P5,000 to P1 million, as the DTI stepped up its monitoring efforts from 400 to 600 outlets visited in a day.
Still, the Trade chief explained the price increases are caused by the days of widespread rains from an enhanced southwest monsoon or “habagat,” which has made transport of products from farm to market difficult.
“Based on DTI’s monitoring, there are some items that have prices not within the SRP. Since the rain has fallen hard in the last three days, the supply fails [to arrive at the markets] ... delivery is delayed so the price is affected,” he said.
DTI personnel will check warehouses and depots to verify the level of supplies, suggest ways to facilitate the transport of the products from farms to markets and ask the Agriculture department to pinpoint government-initiated market outlets of products sold within the SRP.
The department was also planning to launch a program that would accredit public markets and big sari-sari stores selling agriculture products and basic commodities within the SRP, Lopez added.