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Price freeze sought on hams, other Christmas goods

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will try to convince Noche Buena manufacturers to delay any impending increase on the prices of foods traditionally served during Christmas, especially that of Christmas hams.

Trade Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Ruth Castelo said the Department had yet to hear from manufacturers of their plans for the upcoming holiday.

“By practice, we release the suggested retail price for Noche Buena towards the end of October to early November so we can monitor the price and give guidance to consumers,” she said Thursday.

She admitted the DTI had no idea yet of the number of products that would need incremental pricing.

“The Noche Buena products that were prepared last year were of the 2019 price range since the DTI succeeded in convincing manufacturers to refrain from any price adjustments,” Castelo said.

“This year we will still try to convince manufacturers if they can still manage to hold off price increases for their products. But we will make sure that Christmas hams and all Noche Buena products will be available at affordable prices,” she added.

The DTI has rolled out the new SRP Bulletin for basic necessities and prime commodities published August 29, 2021 and effective immediately.

Of the 216 products included in the SRP list, only 76 products effected upward price movements of between P0.20 and P2.85.

These are mostly everyday consumables like powdered milk, instant coffee, noodles and non-food items like detergent and toilet essentials, among others.

While most products increased by P0.20 to P1.00 per unit, it was only the price of corned beef, among canned goods that went up by almost P3.00 per unit.

“Secretary (Ramon) Lopez explained earlier that the request of manufacturers has been pending for 2 years and he thought it was about time to allow manufacturers a small percentage of profitability, otherwise these companies will fold up,” Castelo explained.

She noted that the price of tin cans in the global supply chain increased, which would put manufacturers at a loss if retail prices would not be adjusted accordingly.

“We understand that these are still pandemic times, but we also need to understand the manufacturers who are at the brink of destruction. They may temporarily close, or lay-off workers, or even stop producing their products. And this will leave consumers at a disadvantage because they will not have alternative choices. These products in the SRP are the lowest in the market. Depriving them of means to earn is like depriving the consumers of better options,” Castelo said.

Meanwhile, more police officers will be deployed in malls, shopping centers, and other establishments during the “ber” months—September, October, November, and December—to prevent superspreader events, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said.

This, as more Filipinos are expected to visit these areas with the start of the Christmas season in the country.

“The PNP will still focus primarily on the implementation of public health safety protocols because amid the challenges we are facing, it is still important that every Filipino family is safe and together in their homes towards the celebration of Christmas,” Eleazar said in a statement.

Eleazar added that this also seeks to curb crime incidents which usually increase during the holiday season.

“Even though the situation during the ‘ber’ months this year is not the same as before due to the coronavirus pandemic, the PNP will remain alert to keep an eye on some criminals like snatchers who are out to take advantage of the situation and other stubborn people who are in markets like Divisoria and other places,” he added.

Eleazar urged the public to cooperate with authorities in their continued enforcement of health and safety guidelines in the midst of the pandemic.

Topics: Department of Trade and Industry , Noche Buena , Christmas , price , Ruth Castelo
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