Implementing a price freeze on Noche Buena products is not possible, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.
“Price freeze is not possible for Christmas products because these are neither basic nor prime,” said DTI Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo.
Still, Castelo also said her boss DTI Ramon M. Lopez does not want to move Noche Buenos products upward. Producers of Noche Buena products particularly ham have already requested for 1-3 percent hike in prices.
“We’re still studying if we should allow,” she said.
Castelo, however, hinted that suggested retail prices (SRPs) for basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) may have some adjustments as requests for increases in SRPs have remained pending for some products, such as, brands for milk, condiments and sardines, since 2018. At that time, the DTI appealed to manufacturers to increase prices in tranches, as such prices for some brands have remained the same until now. The DTI is set to release the SRP for BNPCs next month.
Last week, DTI said Noche Buena products manufacturers were seeking as much 3 percent increase in their SRP due to increased cost of production. Lopez said these producers normally asked for price adjustments around this time of the year to cover for higher cost of production.
“The DTI Consumer Protection Group is currently studying the petition,” he said noting that if the price hikes are reasonable, they may be granted if not they are going to reduce the rate of their requested price hike. The list includes products such as ham, fruit cocktail, cheese, sandwich spread, mayonnaise and keso de bola. Also included are spaghetti, macaroni, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce and creamer.
Based on the DTI experience, however, out of the 20 brands only 5 have been requesting for price hikes. The SRP price hikes involved canned sardines and canned meat products.
“At the end of the day our consumers are advised to select the products that — the brand that we can consider value for money,” he said urging shoppers to choose brands that did not raise their prices and those that give bundling promo during the Christmas season.
He said that DTI is closely watching the list of BNPCs so that their SRP will not increase, but those that are not in the list are open to price adjustment.