Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has urged consumers to do early holiday shopping to avoid crowding in shopping malls, wet markets, and grocery stores.
“We encourage the public to buy their Noche Buena food items early to ensure social distancing is observed in stores and lower the risk of exposure to the virus,” he said, adding that Filipinos will have to forgo the “holiday rush” traditions of years past.
Despite this, there is still cause for celebration as the Department of Trade and Industry confirmed there will be no increases in the Suggested Retail Price of processed food products during the holiday season.
The list of SRPs covers processed food products commonly used for Noche Buena and New Year’s Eve such as ham, spaghetti pasta, tomato sauce, fruit cocktails, cheese products, mayonnaise, and Quezo de Bola.
“We thank manufacturers for agreeing not to increase SRPs of holiday fare. This is truly good news during a time when Filipino lives have been burdened by the pandemic and the typhoons that recently hit Luzon,” he said.
“Tuloy pa rin ang Paskong Pinoy. We embrace the true Christmas spirit by thinking of others,” added George Royeca, chief transport advocate of Angkas and lead proponent of the private sector-led Ingat Angat Tayong Lahat campaign.
A consortium of the country’s biggest companies and brands, the group is optimistic that the holidays will help boost efforts to build consumer confidence to help restart the economy.
“We’re happy to see customers planning their shopping trips ahead of time and strictly following health protocols when they visit their favorite retailers,” Royeca said.
Royeca added the adoption of the StaySafe PH system (https://www.staysafe.ph/) by over 40,000 establishments and 120,000 private companies for employee and customer tracing is another welcome development.
Establishments that have adopted StaySafe include SM, Ayala companies, Jollibee, and McDonald’s.
StaySafe PH is a community-driven contact tracing, health condition reporting and social distancing system donated to the Philippine government and intended to replace the manual method of filling up contact tracing forms.
The StaySafe PH system is the only contact-tracing platform that is linked to the Department of Health’s Covid-Kaya contract-tracing reporting system for use by epidemiology and surveillance officers, health care providers and laboratory-based users.