DTI finds prices hikes of ‘few centavos’
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) found 85 products costing above the suggested retail price (SRP) range nationwide but the excess was only “by a few centavos.”
The DTI made results of its price monitoring public as it increased the number of establishments that were being watched to 1,100 stores nationwide.
“These were considered minor violations,” the DTI said in a statement on Friday.
The DTI said it had issued letters of inquiry (LOIs) to groceries and supermarkets to find out if the price increases were only in some stores or if products became more expensive in all stores.
But the DTI said prices of 77 of the 85 products had already returned to the SRP range. Sellers of products that still cost in excess of SRP would be apprehended, the DTI said.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, in the statement, said that since the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, there had been no charge filed against manufacturers or sellers “because the firms have immediately adjusted their prices to SRP” after the DTI issued LOIs to them.
“These supermarkets and grocery stores have been compliant after receiving an LOI,” Lopez added.
The DTI said price monitoring was intensified following the directive of President Duterte to ensure that prices of basic necessities and prime commodities were within the SRP range.
Monitoring teams now cover at least 120 firms a day, the DTI said.
The department warned that an administrative fine of up to P1 million awaited companies found manipulating prices and engaged in profiteering.
Criminal charges also await them, the DTI said.
The department said prices had remained stable despite cases of prices exceeding SRP by a few centavos.
Lopez said prices from June 11 to 15 this year had been compared to those in November last year.
Out of 101 units in stock of basic necessities like canned sardines, milk, coffee, detergent bars, bread, instant noodles and bottled water, only four items showed “minimal price increase of 1-7 percent,” Lopez said.
Prices of other products like canned meat, condiments, bath soap and batteries increased by 1-8 percent.
The price increase was prevalent in canned meat because of the increase in costs of tin plates worldwide, said Lopez.
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